In 1720, and nineteen year old Jemmy Morland is the oldest son of Matt Morland who runs the family sheep farm and textile business. He is dismayed when his father arranges an advantageous marriage for him with Lady Mary Newcastle. He's in love with his cousin Aliena. When Aliena reveals they are too closely related for marriage, he is sad. Lady Mary is in reality painfully shy. Her snobbish, arrogant attendant Lady Dudley does not help Mary's integration into the Morland family. In spite of this, Jemmy and Mary start to open up to each other. This hopeful beginning is shattered when Mary overhears Jemmy's negative comments thinking he is talking about her, although it is Lady Dudley he doesn't like.
The strained relationship continues throughout their married life. Mary dotes on their two oldest sons. Jemmy develops a connection with only their youngest child, Jemima. When father Matt dies, and leaves Jemmy sole inheritor of the family estate, his brothers are furious. It's up to Jemmy to provide for those who can't manage to make their own way. When small pox strikes the family, Jemima is the only child to survive. There is further uproar when Jemmy decides to make Jemima the sole inheritor rather than picking a male heir from among his nephews.
The relationship between father and daughter grows stronger as Jemmy teaches Jemima the family business. Jemmy dies from an injury sustained while he is on his way to the Jacobite rebellion against Hanover King James II in 1745. Unfortunately, Jemima is not yet of age, and has to obey her mother's wishes to marry her cousin Rupert. When she moves to his home in London, she finds out her married her soley for her money and estate that he fully plans to use in gambling and loose living. It is up to Jemima to find a way to save the family and its legacy from ruin.
The review of this Book prepared by Susan Coffey