Initially, this novel annoyed me. It begins with the story of Mary at the age of 14. She is of marriageable age, but she is a willful girl who is not only literate, but a teenager with ideas of her own. She sneaks out at night, and catches the eye of a young man named Jeremiah at a brothel, where she is allowed to dance. Joseph is there, too, and he has his eye on Mary, but she finds him to be dull. Mary and Jeremiah fall in love, and Mary gets pregnant. She then finds that Jeremiah is a rogue.