The spirited Hester Reede brings disgrace on herself and her well-to-do family when she bursts out laughing in church, during a sermon delivered by the overzealous Reverend Coundon. Unfortunately for Hester, the pastor demands she be punished for this grave offence by suitable chastisement - a whipping on her bare flesh to be administered by the pastor himself. It takes place in the vestry, and while the lecherous pastor takes great pleasure in delivering Hester's punishment, Hester finds it both painful and shaming. When later taunted about the incident, Hester flies into a tantrum and her mother and brother take the decision to marry her off. This does not please Hester one bit; at almost nineteen, she has no desire to be married to a man she has never met. Yet when she is introduced to the prosperous farmer, Nathaniel Kenrick, a spark is ignited between the two of them. After agreeing to marry the big, handsome land owner, Hester travels to Ewefield Farm to begin the next phase of her life as a married woman.
To the delight of her new husband, Hester enjoys the romps in the marriage bed, and quickly settles down to her new role. It seems that a great many wallopings are doled out at Ewefield, and Hester is not exempt. It is not long before Nathaniel puts her over his lap and tans her bare bottom with hand and strap for her disobedience. And yet, painful though these occasions are, Hester learns that being disciplined makes her very aroused, and her husband too! Some spankings are delivered purely for fun in the bedchamber, but Hester must pay the price when her foolishness causes great trouble for her new family.
The story is set in the English Midlands in 1648/49 during the turbulent times of Oliver Cromwell. It focuses on Hester's initial acceptance, and ultimately her enjoyment of domestic discipline from her loving husband.