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Eight months into her marriage, Katherine Forrester has yet to share her husband's bed. Stricken terrified by the mere notion of giving her body, she has been incapable of consummating the union. Her once patient husband is becoming increasingly irascible, and her mother-in-law despairs that the marriage has yet to result in pregnancy. So, Katherine is sent to a doctor who specialises in the treatment of 'female hysteria'.
Intelligent and well-read on all manner of subjects, the young Mrs Forrester knows what to expect from the doctor's care and dreads the humiliating remedies that await her. Although her doctor, David Hershaw, assures her that he will do nothing against her will, she remains wary and guarded. Eventually, as her husband's bad moods turn to violent tempers and threats of forcing from her what she's unprepared to give, she believes there is no option but to place herself fully in the doctor's hands.
What she learns about herself is unexpected, thrilling, and terrifying for reasons she could never have envisaged.