• Elizabeth (Bess) Fones travels with her family to her mother Anne Winthrop Fones' family estate, Groton Manor.
• Anne had moved away to London when she married apothecary, Thomas Fones.
• The Winthrops, including Elizabeth's Uncle John Winthrop, are stern, formal and forbidding.
• Uncle John thrashes Elizabeth with a stick for believing that hobgoblins will finish her needlework.
• The Fones family does not celebrate Christmas because they are dissenters from the Episcopalian faith of the King.
• Bess is learning the apothecary business from her father.
• Bess mother dies and her father falls into ill health.
• Bess is in love with her cousin, Jack Winthrop, but is engaged to marry the intellectual Edward Howes.
• Harry Winthrop, Bess' cousin and Jack's brother, returns from the Barbados where he runs a tobacco business and may have killed a man.
• Harry and his friend, Robert Seaton, stay at...
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