A heap o' tired compost situated in Puritan New England--that fructuous period of bondpersons, stocks, hangings, and steaming britches. Hillaby is a dusky beauty of mixed parentage sold into slavery from Barbados to farmer Robert Stanhope--he's cruelly severe and uptight by day, joyously upright in bed with Hillaby at night. But Robert meanly refuses Hillaby her freedom and marries innocent Abigail. It's a shouting, cowering trio until both women conceive and tragedy waits in the wings. There's a baby mix-up, the strangling death of one, the execution of poor Abigail, and the narrow escape of Hillaby to respectable Quakerhood. And Robert becomes Governor of Massachusetts--which carries, natives will tell you, its own punishment. Perhaps even worse than being forced to read this.