Virginia marries publisher Leonard Woolf but finds him mother-dominated and a reluctant sexual partner. She channels her energies instead into writing a book but this becomes an obsession, impinging upon her health and she attempts suicide. With her own marriage floundering Vanessa takes her children to live in the Sussex countryside as the Great War breaks out. Duncan accompanies them with his bi-sexual lover David 'Bunny' Garnett who have avoided the draft. Vanessa is obviously aware of Duncan's sexual leanings but is in love with him and together they produce a child, Angelica, born as the war ends.
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