Norway 1905 - Europe's poorest country Southerly Wind is the story about Elise's life, her struggle to avoid poverty and the love she experiences in spite of pressing despair. Spreading over decades, readers closely follow Elise and her family. Elise works long hours in a spinning mill to provide for her family. With her mother suffering from consumption, and her father a drunk, Elise and her sister Hilda must look after their younger siblings. In the flat below them lives Johan. He is the strongest and most handsome man in Oslo's borough of Sagene, where the river runs rapidly through the city. Elise and Johan are childhood friends - and sweethearts. One harsh and cold day in January, Elise finds a small object in the snow. This unravels a chain of events that will change both their lives forever.