Leana McBride, a fair-haired, gentle-natured woman, loves Jamie McKie, a man who has been forced by her father to marry her, but who does not return her love. Instead, Jamie loves her younger, more beautiful sister, Rose. The three of them, living in the same household ruled by the sisters' overbearing father, Lachlan McBride, form a prickly and painful love triangle. Rose is a thorn in Leana's heart, even as Leana is a thorn in hers. The older sister has the blessing of marriage; the younger one has the blessing of beauty. The older sister has the double burden of being unattractive to Jamie and feeling unloved; the younger one has the double burden of being unable to claim Jamie and of fearing she is barren after suffering from a lengthy fever. Rose's jealousy toward her sister grows by the hour as Leana's body swells with her first child.
As for Jamie, his heart belongs to Rose, but his name, his fortune, and his and body belong to Leana. Leana prays that, by providing children for Jamie, he will grow to love her. Instead he pines away for the younger sister whom he cannot claim. God mercifully demonstrates his love for Leana, blessing her with a healthy son, Ian. Finally Leana comes to a place of peace about her less-than-rosy lot in life. She releases her anger toward her father, her jealousy toward her sister, and her disappointment toward her husband, even as she embraces her new son and gives her whole heart to God.