The story follows a little known chapter in post WWII history when, in 1949, the Icelandic Farmer Association placed advertisements in northern German newspapers seeking to employ female farmhands in Iceland, a country that had lost many of its eligible women to American soldiers. Maria is desperate to leave the refugee camp where she had lived since her escape from the war. On the journey, she meets and falls in love with Olaf, a seaman who enchants her with Nordic stories. Farm life in the isolated land proves to be unfamiliar and tough. Loneliness abounds and painful war memories haunt her. And there is no sign of Olaf despite his promise of marriage. Maria finds strength in the landscape. She is however, forced to flee into the city after being sexually assaulted by her host. She learns that Olaf has since married and that his wife is expecting a child. She meets Bruno, a Jew allowed to immigrate to Iceland by reason of his profession, and courageously stands by him until his untimely death.