Romance in 1812-30 Nova Scotia--beinning with notched-log authentica and ending with coincidence-spangled mellerdrama. Among the English gentry who've arrived to establish homes in the 1812 Canadian wilderness are the O'Mara and Clare families. Gentle, elegant Vivian O'Mara is married to beautiful, vain Anne, who's miserable away from civilization; they have two boys--sulky Rupert and thoughtful, ambitious Patrick. The Clares: stout-hearted Charles and Rose; sensitive daughter Quality; flirty Cassie; son Dick. So, thanks to help from the Scotts--a lower-class, hard-working pair with their son Jem--cabins are built and farms come into being. And amid spates of toil, Quality and Patrick find their hearts beat as one--while Patrick dreams of leaving and becoming a lawyer. Then, however, comes the War of 1812: during a battle Quality will see disappearing Patrick in an American uniform(!)--shortly before she and Dick rescue Charles from death. Furthermore, after the war, Cassie takes off; Dick heads westward with a gambling partner and card-sharping skills; and Quality pines for Patrick--now, unbeknownst to her, a lawyer in Boston (their correspondence has been mislaid). Worse yet, just when Patrick returns to explain that he was a spy for the British amongst the Americans, Quality's on her way to be plied with drink and tricked into a marriage bed by Jem Scott (a good man but not much of a hand at subtle courtship). And even more trouble comes: the Clare farm is about to be sold out from under them by the nasty O'Maras--Anne and Rupert. But guess who's in Rupert's bed? And guess who's the father of the child conceived there? And guess who shows up at the last minute, a rich man, to save the Old Homestead? And what husband perishes in a snowstorm most conveniently? From the forest primeval to East Lynn folderol--but it all rattles along cheerfully.