When British immigrant Selena Jones marries Aidan Gilmor, a Sinhalese-Eurasian -- part British -- from Sri Lanka in the 1960s in Toronto, a passionate clash of culture ensues. Selena's mother in Wales is horrified when Selena brings Aidan home to Wales for the wedding. Back in Toronto, Selena faces further prejudice and disapproval of her "mixed marriage," despite Pierre Elliott Trudeau's new "multiculturalism," which was being encouraged but also resented. She is shocked not only by the reaction of neighbours but by the teachers at the all-White school in Toronto where she teaches, and she pretends that Aidan is a White Canadian. When two poor West Indian and two East Indian children from a new government housing project nearby unexpectedly arrive at the school, Selena is forced to take a stand in their defence. Gradually she learns to face her fears and confront racism. She is drawn into a deeper understanding of her Sri Lankan family, and especially of her father-in-law, a former tea planter under the British, who left Ceylon after Independence in 1956. She sees the effect of colonialism on Aidan and his family, trying to be "British" while caught in the middle of the civil war conflict in Sri Lanka. The revelation of her father-in-law's secret guilt about the past leads to an inevitable and shocking climax.