This tells the story of the Brangwen family, who farmed in the Midlands of England, from about 1840 to 1900. First Tom Brangwen marries Lydia Lensky, a Polish widow. Then Anna, Lydia's daughter by her first husband and Tom's nephew Will, fall in love and marry.
They have a large family, of whom the most important in the story is Ursula. She has a brief but passionate relationship with Anton Skrebensky, the son of a Polish person who was a friend of her grandmother. After he goes to fight in the Boer war, she meets Winifred Inger, a teacher at the school where Ursula has just become a student-teacher herself. Both have a short but intense relationship, which fades when Winifred becomes engaged to Ursula's uncle Tom.
Ursula obtains an interview at a school at Kingston-on-Thames, but her father refuses to let her go and finds her a post at Ilkeston closer to home, where she finds it almost impossible to keep order among her unruly class and decides that most of her staff colleagues are little better, and little help either. Then Anton returns from the war and they discuss the idea of getting engaged.
This report prepared by John Van der Kiste