Set on a remote Scottish island, Lillian Beckwith's A Breath of Autumn follows the daily lives of the inhabitants living in a beautiful but extremely harsh environment.
Kirsty MacDonald is a crofter on the idyllic Westisle in the Hebrides, an island she now owns. Her son, Wee Ruari, has started school on the mainland, travelling by boat across the Sound to Clachan, and being separated from her son during the week is a wrench for Kirsty. Twice widowed, she misses the boy’s father, who was tragically drowned, and also her husband’s brother, who became her second husband – and secretly loved her.
Kirsty is not left entirely alone though. As autumn arrives she is kept busy preparing for the winter and finds herself fully involved in the lives of her fellow islanders: fisherman Jamie, who is like her own son, his friend Euan and new arrival Enac. However, it is the appearance of a Canadian and his daughter that causes the biggest waves in the small community. Kirsty is opposed to change but soon comes to learn that not all change is to be resisted.