Whilst living in Echuca, Philadelphia Gordon has developed a strong attachment to the river, and a fascination for paddle steamers. When she becomes owner of a paddle steamer she wishes that she had been born a male and not bound by the conventions society imposes upon females.
When Delie meets a young handsome riverman, Brenton Edwards, she falls hopelessly in love with him. However, the future is not the idyll she had foreseen. She is dogged by tragedy and her mind becomes plagued by many questions. Will she ever escape the treadmill of motherhood? Is she doomed to forever be subordinate to a philandering, reckless husband?
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