The Fat Man and His Toad
Harriett's marriage to Lord Planter does not have an auspicious start. Planter is tricked into marriage by Harriett's stepfather and Harriett is beaten into submission by her stepfather and stepbrother – or 'The Fat Man and His Toad' as she calls them. The bullying pair hope this marriage will reap them financial rewards at the expense of Planter.
However, Harriett is determined and will not give in to either the bullying from them or the indifference from her new husband. Her independence comes through when she gets involved in the affairs of the farm that forms part of her husband's estate and later, more dramatically, the dangerous rescue of a young man.
Gradually the barriers between Harriett and her husband break down. Grudging respect becomes affection, and although both are still wary of the other's feelings, they realise affection has become something more – something they cannot reveal as love because of the fears of rejection.
There are still difficulties to overcome before, finally, their love for each other can be declared.