For generations, the Benedicts have been one of Seattle's most distinguished families, residing in the splendid Queen Anne mansion known as Benedict Hall amid a host of loyal servants. But the dawn of the 1920s and the aftermath of the Great War have brought dramatic social conflict. Never has this been more apparent than when daughter Margot's thoroughly modern young cousin, Allison, comes to stay. But Margot is also shocking many of Seattle's genteel citizens, and her engineer beau, by advocating birth control in her medical practice. For amid a tangle of blackmail, manipulation, and old enmities, the Benedicts stand to lose more than money - they may forfeit the very position and reputation that is their only tether to a rapidly changing world.