The novel is semi-fiction. It is based on actual events that did not occur in the Middle Ages but in the second half of the twentieth century.
The central character is Esther, a tomboy who desperately wanted to be a member of an all-male gang and who believed she could secure her dream by letting all the gang's members make love to her. Inevitably she became pregnant, more than once while still an unmarried teenager.
Malcolm Neilson decided that the veneer of the village's churchy respectability had to be preserved at all costs. Esther had to be punished.She was exiled and forced to accept Malcolm's rigid conditions.
How she eventually got her revenge forms the climax of this saga which contains many unexpected twists as the apparently idyllic fun of childhood became replaced by the brutality of adulthood.