‘Why run now, Sweetheart? Stay rather and let patience be rewarded!’
The sight of Aaron’s naked body emerging from the water will linger in Ellin’s memory and conscience long after her marriage to his steadfast brother.
The novel’s two heroes are brothers bound by love, but separated by opposing characters which come to represent the two faces of eighteenth century England – its brutality and its enlightenment. Ellin Rimmer, daughter of a ‘fire and brimstone’ preacher, marries one brother to escape the loneliness of life in a parsonage, only to find herself hopelessly attracted to the other – and to be compelled through him to an impetuous decision that will have drastic consequences for all three.