While converting an old school to a recreation property near Wellington, New Zealand, Steve Garnet meets married neighbor, Lavina Ryland. Their friendship soon develops into a forbidden romance that hurtles them into danger and changes their lives and the life of Lavina's daughter forever.
Concerned for her twelve year-old daughter, Cathy, Lavina is reluctant to leave her husband, Grant, and ends contact with her lover. Grant, an abusive alcoholic, learns about his wife's infidelity and, in a drunken rage, drugs Lavina, their daughter, and Steve. He abducts them and brutally abandons the trio on an isolated mountaintop airstrip above bush covered ranges, at least four day's walking distance from the nearest road.
Facing an onslaught of life-threatening perils, including frostbite, raging icy rapids, and violent storms, the abandoned trio struggle to survive and find their way back to civilization. Unaware that her husband's aircraft has crashed, killing Grant, Lavina feels certain that after sobering up Grant, will realize what he's done and return to pick them up.
After being rescued, one of the survivors faces amputation and Lavina finds she is suspected of murdering her husband by sabotaging his plane. Slowly, facts emerge uncovering Grant's secret past, his young mistress, an odd involvement with an ex-wife, and his immersion in illegal activities.
As they become a family in their own right, Lavina, Steve, and Cathy's lives are torn apart. Like twigs in a storm, their destinies are controlled by outside forces. Can they endure and triumph over the grave odds against them? Is their love strong enough to survive the crushing weight of these obstacles?