Pleasance, shy and inhibited, befriends Molly - whose experience of life and its secrets compensate for her lack of scholarly knowledge. Employed as a servant in the neighbouring cottage, Molly's understanding of herbs and their healing qualities ...
endears her to the villagers. But Molly is passionate and headstrong - and she embarks on a liaison with a soldier , the consequences of which result in his death and her trial for witchcraft. Cross-examined by the Witchfinder General during Molly's trial, Pleasance is inveigled into giving incorrect evidence. Horrified that she might have been the cause of her friend's execution she leaves the safety of her remote village to join her relatives in London. Sophisticated and worldly, they transform her into a graceful young lady and she attracts the attention of Isaac, a Sephardic Jew, and the son of eminent doctor Abraham Santagel, one of the many jews allowed to remain in England after Cromwell's Council of State agreed to their re-admission in the country. Seduced by Isaac, Pleasance's subsequent friendship with his father reveals her own frailties, but he also teaches her to recognise true affection and gives her the strength necessary to make her greatest sacrifice. A sacrifice whose consequences will impact on the lives of her descendents forever.