When Janet Harding marries a kindly vicar, she discovers the constraints of life with a clergyman and throws herself into the suffragette movement. But her dreams of emancipation give way to the responsibilities of an overburdened wife and mother. Stephen Allendeyne, smug heir to Dene Hall, prides himself on his union with Jessie Penryder, an impoverished governess with social ambitions. Generally at odds, the couple find harmony in opposing their daughter's modern ideas about independence. Then, in the aftermath of World War I, two lovers meet in Eastern Europe. Overcoming the scars of the war and their own pasts, they succeed in forging a new kind of partnership.