Mary Robson is a young Yorkshire woman, married to her solid, unromantic cousin, John. Together they battle to preserve Mary's neglected inheritance, her beloved farm, Anderby Wold. This labour of love - and the benevolent tyranny of traditional Yorkshire ways - have made Mary old before her time. Then into her purposeful life comes David Rossitur, red-haired, charming, eloquent: how can she help but love him? But David is a young man from a different England, radical and committed to social change. As their confrontation and its consequences inevitably unfold, Mary's life and that of the calm village of Anderby are changed forever.