John Mitford is destined for the ministry, first as curate to his father and eventually to replace his father as Rector of Fanshawe Regis. He has just returned home from university, and before his plans can be developed further he saves a young girl whose horse was about to go over a cliff. She is however knocked unconscious, and the doctor decides she must stay at the Mitfords' house until better.
Kate Crediton is a delightful, if somewhat spoiled, girl; and of course she and John fall in love. Now they must deal with angry parents on both sides - on hers because her rich father expects a better marriage for her; and on his because he is urged by Kate to relinquish his career, and instead to "make his fortune", which he is ill-equipped to do. Many practical and emotional issues stand in their way, and neither John nor Kate handle themselves well. It becomes doubtful whether their love will survive.
British publishing information
Periodical: Blackwood's Magazine Nov 1869 - Jul 1870