The Glass Virgin is about the struggle of the heroine, Annabella LeGrange, to come to terms with the realization that her parents are not actually her biological parents and her struggle to survive. Annabella LeGrange is a seven year old only child who has been brought up in a grand manor house in the north of England. She is isolated from the rest of the world but seems content to be loved by her parents and waited on by the staff of the house. She also knows that when she is old enough, she will be marrying her cousin, Stephen. Annabella's mother's family own a glass works, which is overseen by Annabella's father.
Annabella is not allowed to go outside the house gates and is also not allowed to go through a certain door in the house. On the day before Annabella's eighth birthday, she ventures through the forbidden door and see her father cavorting with a woman she has never seen before. Annabella run out, leaving her doll behind, and promptly faints. Papa convinces Annabella that anything she saw, was actually the product of a bad dream.
When Mama returns home, Papa insists that she must go to see her mother, who lives in a house on the estate, and ask her to lend them more money as the glass works is in financial difficulty. Mama is not happy as the following day is Annabella's birthday. Papa wakes Annabella up the following day to wish her 'happy birthday' as if nothing untoward had happened the previous day. Annabella then walks with her mother to her grandmother's house but does not go in. She stays outside with her maid, Betty Watford. Annabella has never met her grandmother and she puts this down to the fact that her grandmother probably doesn't like children and will meet her when she is an adult.
The cook and housekeeper are fired for selling house scraps to begging children. Betty Watford is then fired for called Annabella a bastard. Mama's trip to borrow money from her mother was successful in that she acquired shares in the company, however Papa is furious as he loses more control of the company. He reminds Mama that Annabella is not her child and recounts how he brought the baby to her so she could have a better chance in life.
The following day Stephen, who is at Eton, Annabella, Papa and Mama go and visit the glass works. Papa takes them via the red light district, so that Annabella's real mother can see her child. Annabella demonstrates her knowledge of all things glass and associated with its manufacture. When they are about the leave, Annabella spots a cat and while playing with it, almost gets run down by a runaway carriage. A man, called Manuel Mendoza, sweeps her out of the carriage path. Papa is so grateful that he offers Manuel a job in his stables. Manuel and Annabella become firm friends over the years and he teaches her to ride.
Seven years later the glass factory has to close due to financial problems. Annabella discovered that Stephen is now engaged to someone else. Papa then tells her that she is the daughter of a whore. Annabella is absolutely distraught and runs away to town to find her real mother. Her mother decides to tell her the whole truth - her father is actually the man she met on her way in. Annabella runs away, just before Mama arrives to talk to Annabella's real mother. She tells her that Papa isn't able to father a child, so Annabella is not his daughter.
The grand house is closed up and Mama moves in with her mother. Annabella is staying with Amy, a sweet old lady who lives in a cottage nearby. Manuel finds Annabella, but so does Papa. A fight ensues and Manuel accidentally kills Papa. Amy agrees to cover up the murder and tells the couple they must leave quickly. They agree to pretend that they are cousins. They walk to the nearest town and eventually find work on a farm, where they are treated very badly. When the farmer tries to rape Annabella, Manuel insists they must leave immediately.
They then find work on the Fairbairn's farm. The Fairbairn's are a happy, decent family and they treat Annabella and Manuel well. They give Manuel a caravan to live in and Annabella is to share the attic with one of the staff who is away at a funeral. Annabella is mortified to find that her room mate is none other than her ex-maid, Betty Watford. Betty threatens to tell the family who Annabelle really is and claims that they will immediately fire her. Manuel tries to be extra nice to Betty in the hope that she will remain silent.
There is a party at the Fairbairn's house and everyone is invited. Manuel buys Annabella a new dress and a pair of shoes for the event. He dances with her all evening. She goes off to bed and Manuel get more and more drunk. The following morning, Manuel does not appear for work and is spotted coming out of his caravan with Betty. Annabella can take no more. She goes back inside the house, puts on her party dress and walks into the lake and tries to drown herself. Manuel saves her. Manuel tells her and the family that nothing happened between him and Betty, he was exceptionally drunk.
Annabella makes Manuel promise never to leave her. The Fairbairn's give them the caravan and they go on their way again. Manuel proposes to Annabella and she accepts. Manuel leaves early one morning, and on his return tells Annabella that he has found them a job. It is at the local glass works. The pay is excellent and Annabella expertise is recognized. Annabella and Manuel are married. At their wedding reception, a seafarer tries to molest Annabella. His wife sees it and pours beer over her dress. While Annabella is trying to wash her dress, the seafarer attacks her. Annabella screams and Manuel comes running and punches the assailant. He is seriously hurt.
The police arrest Manuel. Annabella goes to her Great Uncle James to ask for legal assistance for Manuel. Meanwhile, Annabella stays with her family and Manuel is imprisoned for 12 months. Great Uncle James is hoping to get their marriage annulled before Manuel gets out of prison. Six months later, Manuel appears at the house but Mama will not allow him in the house. Annabella says that her and Manuel will leave the following day. Mama persuades Manuel to leave for a week, to let Annabella decide whether she really wants to stay him. When Annabella gets up in the morning, she finds Manuel gone. She eventually finds him and he says he feels that they should both stay, as Mama is very lonely. So they move back into the manor house and everyone lives happily every after.
Best part of story, including ending:
I particularly enjoyed Annabella's transition from a spoilt child to a hungry, hard working maid.
Best scene in story:
I particularly enjoyed the scene where Annabella was so overcome at the thought of losing Manuel, having already lost everything else that she loved, that she tries to drown herself.
Opinion about the main character:
Annabella is frequently far to good to be true.