As a member of the wealthy Throckmorton family, Catherine intends to live a proper, quiet life. She has accepted her role as a spinster, keeping house for her marine merchant brother. Through an accident of mistaken identity, she becomes pregnant and is forced to marry. Caught between her own inclinations to violent patriotism and the pacifism of her Quaker husband, Catherine is swept into the midst of the Battle of Monmouth in 1778. Afterwards, as the infant United States takes its first steps as a nation, Catherine struggles to preserve her family's position in the volatile economic climate.
This story contains detailed, factual information about the Battle of Monmouth and the history of Monmouth County, New Jersey. All of the main characters are historic figures, brought to life in order to help the reader experience the events described. Underlying the tale is a continuation of the Throckmorton family genealogy, although the main character, Catherine, has married a Norris, and the story becomes the first of three in a Norris family saga.