Cornwall, 1900s. Plyn Boat Yard is a hive of activity, and Janet Coombe longs to share in the excitement of seafaring: to travel, to have adventures, to know freedom. But constrained by the times, instead she marries her cousin Thomas, a boat builder, and settles down to raise a family.
Janet's loving spirit - the passionate yearning for adventure and for love - is passed down to her son, and through him to his children's children. As generations of the family struggle against hardship and loss, their intricately plotted history is set against the greater backdrop of war and social change in Britain. Her debut novel, The Loving Spirit established du Maurier's reputation and style with an inimitable blend of romance, history and adventure.