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Johnnie Easter takes his family by surprise when he falls in love with Harriet Sowervy. For all his business talent Johnnie is a shy lad, awkward at social events. But when he meets gentle Harriet, beaten into submission by her brutal parents, Johnnie reveals hidden strengths, rescuing his love from her prison-like life and making her his bride.

Harriet's love for her rescuer, her hero, her husband, knows no bounds. Surely theirs is a marriage made in heaven? But as Johnnie devotes more and more time to the family business, rushing newspapers across the country on the swift new 'Fourpenny Flyers', Harriet suffers from his neglect. Until, amid the terrible massacre at Peterloo, where her eyes are opened to the suffering and deprivation of the poor around her, she meets dynamic revolutionary Caleb Rawson, who is everything Johnnie is not - passionate, exciting, and champion of the poor. And so the seeds of tragedy are sown...

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