The middle 19th century is the setting for the story of Thorn Drayton and the three men in her life for her heart was given to the cousin, Rhys Vaughan, who was her first sympathetic friend. Unloved, uneducated, knowing only horses, Thorn studied with David Mennen to be less a savage, discovered her love for Rhys was returned but that Rhys would not have her until he could afford her. The return of her brother Randall to the foundry brought an open clash with Rhys and his dismissal of Thorn sent her to Chloris, Randall's mother-in-law, who turned her into a continental beauty. Wooed by de Laurignac, it was David she married but when Rhys returned from America she resisted only so long then ran off with him. David's death and marriage to de Laurignac built up her defenses against Rhys so that, when all the information about his implacable conceit, treachery and faithlessness was in her hands, she could at last face him in all her strength and break the old bonds. A novel of relationships follows the transformation of a headstrong girl into a worldly and eventually wise woman and does not overplay the drama in which she is involved. A woman's market here.