He, the son of a country builder; she, the daughter of a baronet-between them, romance, scandal and the rivalry of generations. The Parish of Wenham has long been dominated by Pelham's Oak, ancestral home of the aristocratic but now impoverished Woodvilles. As a new century dawns, young Sir Guy Woodville is forced to make a marriage of convenience which brings new pressures to his beautiful but rebellious sister Eliza. The thought of a similar fate for her is more than she can bear. By contrast, the Yetman's, as local tradesmen, have succeeded through their own endeavour. The proud and handsome Ryder Yetmana is the man to whom Eliza is attracted. But the consequences of their passion for each other are shocking and irrevocable-changing forever the fortunes of their respective families.