Prime mover in this star-crisscrossed love story is Katherine Wilson, 20 years old in 1887, daughter of physician Kent and social reformer Beth (For Us the Living, 1976). Katherine speaks her mind and is given to shattering bursts of offkey song -- but she is all too soon behaving in standard, noble period-romance fashion. Mildly attracted to young doctor Luke Sullivan, product of Irish immigrant poor (her father's office-mate), Katherine marries instead handsome, callous, and stiff-necked Edward Madison, owner of the mill in the Massachusetts town where the Wilsons summer. And Luke is wed, equally unwisely, to vapid Maureen. Thus tacked into far comers by unsuitable spouses, Katherine and Luke will pull loose with enormous difficulty and consummate their love. But Luke's Catholic conscience prohibits divorce; and Katherine fears losing her small daughter to Edward. Then, during mill unrest -- Edward is generally hated -- the Madisons' house is set on fire, and Edward is fatally shot by one of society's (and Edward's) victims. So Katherine returns to Massachusetts to run the mill, visions of Utopia dancing in her head, to right all wrongs; and there is one last feverish rendezvous in New York with Luke before he dies of the heart condition he had hidden from her. Grieving, Katherine reflects that ""People don't have to be married to each other . . . touch each other . . . see each other . . . to love."" Starts with a spirited bang, whimpers out to middling.