At six feet tall and prodigiously clever Deborah Wilson Horden has no hope of marriage in seventeenth century England.
Her birth is unluckily timed when Horden Hall is on fire and her mother is prejudiced against her from the start. Her brother, John, born four years later, is cosseted and protected, but intimidated by Deborah’s cleverness and at thirteen he is desperate to impress the family with an achievement of his own. He becomes passionate for the Stuart cause and runs away to Scotland with a Catholic youth whom he hero-worships. He sends letters home that he is travelling and sight-seeing with his friend. These console the family but they never dream he will join the rebels who are fighting to restore James the Second to the throne.
Deborah envies him the excitement of new experiences. Her life is more study at home and inevitable spinsterhood. So, when a huge young Scotsman brings John home, wounded from the battle field, she is only too ready to respond to his instant delight in her. He loves her height, her forthright personality, even her great learning.
But just as her brother’s innocence had led him into rash rebellion her joy in being loved leads her into drama and tragedy she could never have foreseen. The two young rebels are chastened by their experiences but what will life hold for Deborah Wilson Horden now?