Laura Callaway walks the windswept coast of Cornwall every day. The coast is known for many shipwrecks with few survivors. She feels like a castaway, set adrift on the tides of fate by the deaths of her parents and left craving answers. Now living with her parson uncle and his parsimonious wife in North Cornwall, Laura is seen as an outsider, even as she yearns to belong somewhere again.
When ships sink, wreckers search the shore for valuables, while Laura searches for clues to the lives lost. She takes on the task of writing letters to loved ones and returning keepsakes to rightful owners. She collects seashells and mementos, and when a man is washed ashore, she takes him in too.
As Laura and a neighbor provide care for the castaway, the mystery surrounding him grows.He has abrasions and a deep cut that look very much like a knife wound, and he speaks in careful, educated English, yet his accent seems peculiar. Other clues start to wash ashore, and Laura soon discovers he is not who he seems to be. Their attraction grows, and while she wants to return the man to his rightful home, evidence against him mounts. With danger coming from every side, will Laura ever find the answers and love she seeks?