Rachel Cooper's father kept his family in a state of terrified subservience. When he died - apoplectic with rage at having been crossed, at last, by his son - Rachel was left to care for her helpless mother and difficult young sister. Raped by a local youth whose love she thought she had gained, she gave birth in secret to a daughter who had to be given away for adoption.
Hating and mistrusting all men, Rachel's only friend was Polly, the local wise woman whose support and counsel was to bring her through the worst of times. She managed to develop a successful career and to win the love of a good, kindly man, but her sufferings were not yet over. At last, with courage and the will to survive, Rachel found true fulfillment and reconciliation with the daughter she thought she had lost forever.