In 1939, when Elizabeth, the daughter of a wealthy cotton mill owner, meets the dashing honourable James, she is overwhelmed by a handsome young man who is the opposite of her retiring, shy nature. Elizabeth has been schooled in etiquette at a Swiss finishing school but suffered slights from other girls from the ‘best’ families in Europe, titled and arrogant. Her father has no love of the aristocracy, wasters and scoundrels, he calls them, but for his daughter to be a future countess of Cumberland, that is something to contemplate. They marry but Elizabeth soon tires of the London scene. On the estate, Castle Hemgarth in the county of Cumberland, Elizabeth feels safe. World War 2 intercedes and takes James away, leaving Elizabeth to nurse her dying father-in-law and the estate. What Elizabeth and James want so badly is an heir but when James, an officer rising rank by rank, is away, what chance is there of that? Elizabeth finds courage and finds her feet as Countess of Cumberland and James has a wandering eye and a life away from Hemgarth.