Eleven-year-old Marina and her beloved parents are travelling to a new life in Australia. But illness quickly spreads through their ship and before they have reached their new home, Marina has been left an orphan. Taken in by James and Sarah, a couple with jobs waiting for them in the colony, the hand of fate once again strikes Marina's life when the couple's son and then James lose their lives in tragic circumstances. Sarah and Marina make their way to Waratah House, a beautiful home in the Southern Highlands, where they find work. In Waratah House, Marina finds friends and a home that she grows to love, but when an ill-fated relationship results in pregnancy, Marina is tossed out. Emily, Marina's child, is left in the care of her friends at Waratah House, who raise her as their own. But Sarah continues to hold a grudge and is determined to see that Emily will never enjoy the happiness that Sarah believes she has been denied. Beautifully written and with wonderful period detail, Waratah House takes you behind the doors of the servants' quarters and into the lives of a group of people who will touch your heart.