As the novel follows the various fortunes and misfortunes of Benjamin and his sons through the late 19th Century, it becomes clear that they each possess a passion for direct contact with the land they farm. This passion dominates all aspects of their existence and inextricably ties them to Crakenhill. It is only when their lives are altered by the arrival of a young housekeeper that their future becomes uncertain. It was this novel, which established H W Freeman's reputation as a writer in Britain and America. It became a main selection of the American Book of the Month club in 1929.