From the time Leslie Titmuss was a young boy, Reverend Simcox encouraged his endeavors. Now an accounts clerk at the Simcox brewery, Titmuss shows every sign of being on the way up. The same can't be said of the rector's sons, Henry and Fred, who appear to be on a downward track.
The relationship between Fred, the jazz-drumming medical student, and Agnes, the local doctor's daughter, hits a sour note. Meanwhile, Henry finds out that he and his brother have more in common than either could have guessed. And Titmuss makes his own moves on the romantic front.
Fred's relationship with Agnes's father, Dr. Salter, improves even as his affair with Agnes ends. Titmuss's romance with Charlotte Fanner, on the other hand, goes from strength to strength, but both sets of parents disapprove.
Henry and Agnes get married and have a child, and the brothers finally reconcile. But as he's coming to terms with his current life, Fred also begins to probe some mysteries in his past. Always looking to the future, Leslie Titmuss engineers a victory for the hated Labour Party in the parliamentary election.
The death of a local poacher is thought to be accidental. But Fred isn't convinced. Why did Dr. Salter always pretend he didn't know the man? The good doctor and the poacher may share more in common than meets the eye--and seem destined for the same fate.
Titmuss eyes the Conservative Party nomination for the parliamentary seat recently lost to the socialists. First, though, he has to maneuver a rival out of the way. Then his wife, Charlotte, threatens to thwart his chances.
The extended Simcox clan gathers at the rectory for Christmas, while the Titmusses join the Fanners. But the season's goodwill proves in short supply. Agnes learns disturbing news about Henry, now a successful novelist. By New Year's Eve, tensions threaten to erupt into open hostilities.
Dr. Salter finally breathes his last, as if Leslie Titmus being a member of Parliament is too much for him to bear. His daughter, Agnes, meanwhile, tires of Henry's infidelities and walks out. And Fred, grown disenchanted with the woman in his life, leaves as well.
It's election time again for Leslie Titmuss, MP, and he hits the stumps. A father now, he's determined to get young Nicholas into the best boarding school, which creates more friction with his wife. Titmuss encourages Charlotte to find interests outside the home, but her new cause has tragic results.
Titmuss has recovered politically from his personal heartbreak, but moves are afoot to unseat him. Henry targets Titmuss, determined to contest Reverend Simcox's will in court. Fred, however, is equally adamant about not basing the case on his father's supposed insanity.
Fred finally learns the truth about his father--and that the Simcox, Fanner, and Titmuss families are linked in a way that no one could have imagined. Truths of all sorts catch up with Leslie Titmuss as well, who risks losing both his fortune and his political career.