"Against the Wind" begins in country Ireland in 1798 where the Mulvane family lives. Mary, the eldest daughter, is in love with Michael Connor. The Red Coats though from England are slowly taking over Ireland and when the Pastor's fee goes up and the Mulvane's can't pay, their cow is taken instead. Not wanting to give into the English, Mary and Michael go to steal the cow back in the middle of the night, are caught in the act and Michael is killed. Mary is sentenced to be transported to Australia aboard a merchant ship where she first encounters Ensign Greville. Once in Australia she is assigned as a kitchen maid to Captain Wiltshire, a kindly man with a snobbish wife. This is where she meets Jonathan Garrett, also a convict. Mary though is determined that she will return back to her family in Ireland, but it could cost her happiness.