Set in TurkicCentral Asia in a rural town near the Caspian Sea during the late 19th century, the story revolves around a young woman, Amira, who arrives from a distant village across the mountains to marry Karluk, a boy eight years her junior. The story unfolds among details of every-day family and community life. However, the peaceful atmosphere is disturbed when Amira's family demands to take her back to their village.
Descended from nomads, but for several generations have lived in a village. But they still follow their culture of a patrilocal society, which mean when a man marries, his wife joins him in his father's home or compound, where they raise their children.
The main protagonist of the story, a twenty-year-old woman and Karluk's bride. She stems from a different (semi-nomadic) tribe. She is skilled in archery, horse-riding and hunting. A free-spirited, adventurous woman, she is more open and outgoing in her day-to-day activities compared with the rest of the women in the family, who are noticeably more reserved. Despite the large age gap between her and Karluk, she genuinely loves him. Unknown to Amir, many of the men she encounters look down on her because she is considered old for a new bride, and long past the traditional age when women in the society have started having children.
The male protagonist of the story, Amir's twelve-year-old husband. He is the youngest son of Akunbek and Sanira. He works very hard to be a good traditional husband to Amir, but because of his young age, he struggles to form a closer relationship with her. Karluk is considered an oddity in that he is younger than his bride; traditionally the bride is usually many years younger than the groom. Men often treat Karluk with pity, since they fear that his wife will be too old when he is mature enough to have children with her.
Karluk's grandmother, descended from the same clan as Amir. Reserved and sensible, she serves as a confidante to Amir, because of their shared background. In spite of her advanced age, she is still a skillful archer and rider.
An English traveler and researcher living with the Eihon family. He has been researching the customs, language, and culture of the tribes and peoples. Left the Eihon family to return to England after being warned of rising tensions in the region with the Russians. After leaving the Eihon family, he was captured by local military under suspicion of spying for the British, but was later released with the help of Amir and Karluk.
A young woman who is introduced in chapter 6; attracted to Amir's free-spirited nature, they two become good friends. Pariya has always struggled to be a traditional woman in the society, but her habit of speaking her mind regardless of situation creates a lot of uncomfortable situations. As a result, she tends to become anxious in social situations, which results in embarrassing outbursts. She is very good at baking and skilled at creating extremely elaborate designs in her bread, which she teaches to Amir. Her father is Togo, a potter, who feels rather resigned at trying to find a suitable husband for his daughter because her outspoken nature tends to scare off potential suitors.
Pariya also appears in a short-comic spin-off of the series called "Pariya-san wa Otoshigoro"
Amir's eldest brother, a serious and stoic man. While he seems cold, he is implied to care for the well-being of his sisters but is bound by what he has been ordered to do by his clan. Though he does not openly oppose his clan's orders, he has indirectly expressed frustration over the decisions of his elders.
A cousin of Amir and Azel. Often speaks about food. He tends to be thoughtless and short-sighted about the future. Though he secretly disagrees with the elders of the clan, he does not express the sentiments because he feels that it is pointless.
A young nomadic woman living with her mother-in-law. Introduced in chapter 12. Married into her current family at age sixteen, but in a few years became a widow of all its five sons as per tradition, which dictates that a widow with no children marries one of her husband's brothers. Since her father-in-law also died, she helps and keeps company to her mother-in-law instead of going back to her own family. She becomes romantically involved with Mr. Smith.
An old nomadic woman. She wishes for Talas to have a future with a loving husband and won't accept any marriage offers that would make her daughter-in-law unhappy, including the one from her uncle. She tries to convince Smith to marry Talas, but fails. Later marries Talas's uncle in order to secure a good match for her.
The brother of Talas's father-in-law. A wealthy, aggressive man that wants Talas to be a second wife for his son. He reports Smith to the town's authorities which leads to Smith's arrest and later marries Talas's mother-in-law.
Smith's guide to Ankara. Introduced in chapter 15. He is associated with the local military, and unabashedly greedy and resourceful, taking advantage of a situation as he sees fit. He is unmarried, but expresses interest in finding a wife when he feels he has obtained sufficient financial stability.
Twin sisters from a thriving fishing village and are of marriageable age. They are very mischievous and are always together, sharing the same ideas about nearly everything. When Mr. Smith and Ali arrive in their village, Laila and Leyli have been causing trouble trying to find wealthy grooms for themselves who will also bend to their will. Their father later betrothes the two sisters to the first and second sons of one of his friends.
Laila and Leyli's father is a fisherman who is strict with his children. He allows Mr. Smith to remain at his house, feeling that Mr. Smith had nearly drowned because of Laila and Leyli's plans to find husbands for themselves. Though he wants to find good husbands for his daughters, he is reluctant to do so because he worries about the expense of dowries for both of them. The twins' mother, Minah (ミナー?), is also very strict with them, often having little patience for their antics and not hestitating to resort to severe methods to ensure they will be good wives some day. However, she cares for them deeply and it is implied she was very much like her daughters when she was young. The girls' family also include several younger siblings, their maternal aunt, their grandfather, and their grandmother, who proves to be very adept at tricking the twins to do household tasks.
Sarmaan and Farsami are the eldest and second sons, respectively, of a fisherman, and both happen to be fishermen themselves. Their father is an old friend of Laila and Leyli's father and the brothers are childhood friends of the twins. When their father suggests having the twins marry the brothers, they are mostly indifferent and admit to have expected it. When their fathers are too caught up with arguing about dowries, the brothers are arbitrarily matched to the twins so they will get to know each other better. Both brothers express a mature attitude towards marriage and with both pairs satisfied with the matches, Sarm is paired with Laila and Sami with Leyli.