Life is not easy for a stray. Dodging traffic, unfriendly feet and thrown bottles, a frightened and weary little dog scrambles to find nourishment where she can and fights to keep her new litter of vulnerable pups safe from the many perils that linger in Greece's shadows. There is little mercy here. It's a very hard life for a street dog, especially for one who once knew the caring of a Human. Fierce and unforgiving, she barks endlessly at the day's many dangers and keens to the empty darkness of the night, but just as she begins to sink into a despair that only a dog can feel, the red haired girl appears and life begins to change.
It is the spring of 1990. The young American family boards a ferry, traversing the vast Aegean blue into the Greek archipelago in pursuit of four months of sun, sea and adventure ... but just as they begin to settle on an idyllic whitewashed island Eleni, Harry and 12 year old Lily come face to face with the loud, scruffy stray who shatters their peace – and their plans! Of course, tender Lily is drawn to the wild little dog boldly protecting three young pups, and it's in the wake of their very first meeting that trust begins to take the place of fear. The dog, Margarita, claims the family as her own and in turning their attentions to her life on the streets, the plight of the island's cast-off animals comes into a finely tuned focus.
Wedged between the welcoming beauty of sun, sea and antiquity and their ignorance of a culture just recently coming up for air after years of oppression, is the family's love for all animals – and it's their caring for the desperate strays that imposes an unexpected turn on their blissful holiday. While Eleni, Harry and Lily come to lasting friendships with locals and an intimacy with the peace and beauty of their island, they also come face to face with some of the country's darker secrets. Both the light and the dark get distilled down into one grand odyssey – several years along a Grecian path cobbled with utter delight, worries and sorrows and ultimately, with redemption. Along the way they fall deeply in love, with little Margarita ... with the sea and it's gorgeous island cloaked in myth and mystery ... with the people and their vibrant and enigmatic culture ... and with a fisherman, Vassili, who shelters his own secrets and a potent sadness. In the end, favored by all of Margarita's little graces, the beautifully revealing and sometimes painful journey leads not only to the rescue of human hearts, but also toward recognizing and rectifying the lives of the homeless animals of Greece’s streets.