The scene is straight out of the early nineteenth century and so is the book. Ralph Dacre was the ""wild, restless peasant"" boy adopted by Edmund Armstrong after Ralph saved his daughter Elizabeth's life. Could kinship turn to courtship? Ah, but there are many barriers to face. One is unscrupulous Francis March, bent on marrying Elizabeth for her money. Another is Ralph's willful pride in searching for his lost heritage. Was he a bastard? There is even a hint of incest between his mother and her brutish brother. Francis is eventually responsible for the heart attack and death of Edmund. In the meantime he destroys Edmund's last will which cites Ralph as partial beneficiary. Ralph, reduced to the shabby farm he claims half ownership of, carries a weeping Elizabeth there but her sensibilities are too stricken and she runs back to the ever-welcoming arms of Francis. Ralph, desolate, forsakes all to find fame and fortune in the city. Which, five years later, he has. Meanwhile Elizabeth has married Francis who is treating her shabbily. Will the two ill-fated lovers find themselves and each other? Think about it....Why?