One of Ms. Cookson's porridge-and-haystack specialties set in rural Scotland of the 1880's and '90's. It all begins with a grand flogging -- of poor pregnant farm girl Molly by the Master at the request of her father because of her sin. But the Master, a bounder, is the real sinner, a fact learned by cowherd Davie and the Master's daughter, dear Jane. Then it's bugger all, with the Mistress in anguish giving birth to legless Amos, whom the Master wished done away; Davie, refusing marriage to Molly, is off to sea; and the Master is on the downhill path to drink. Mistress dies and Amos turns out to be a beast, managing to knock off not only his father but Janie's fiance. Then Davie weds Janie who dies in childbirth and, with Amos finally deceased, Davie turns to his true love, the patient Molly. Whoosh, foosh -- but a winner for Cookson fans and a Literary Guild Alternate.