This volume forms part of the Peverill family history ( The Peverills, Folly’s End) but can be read as a stand-alone.  Antonia, daughter of Chritina Lady Tyson, is as headstrong and impulsive as her mother ever was, and proves it by eloping to Gretna Green with her young lover, and thence with him to the West Indies, where his father, also a Peverill ‘on the wrong side of the blanket’, has amassed a considerable fortune in  sugar and slavery. Her daughter Pauline, equally impulsive, betroths herself to a undesirable fortune hunter, embraces philanthropy and in an amusing scene with her lawyers, quixotically disposes of her immense fortune. The themes of the story are the agricultural revolution of the early 19th century, political change, the abolition of slavery  and dramatic rebellion of the slaves.