Philadelphia's shipyard section in the 1880's, and the suspicion and superstition to be overcome by the still limited science of medicine, as a background for the career of young Dr. Robert Warwick. In the stubborn, bitter resistance of Joe Gooney, and his wife, two of his poorer patients, Warwick gets much to test his skill and his patience, first as he saves Joe's gangrened leg, later as he treats his hare-lipped boy. In his personal life he is also harshly tried when he is forced into marriage to Paula Garratt and the marriage, based only on physical attraction, leads to constant quarreling until Paula runs away, dies bearing the child of another man. Thus finally he is freed to go on from Queen Street with Kate, the servant woman whose understanding and gentle gift of healing wins his love... There's romance here, and greater realism than in many of the novels of this tradition- which is still intrinsically and intentionally a popular one.