The year is 1921, and twenty-year-old Felicia is a recently married woman. She loves her husband, Leighton, but all is not well in the bedroom as Leighton demonstrates a certain reluctance when it comes to lovemaking, including on their wedding night, which Felicia spent alone. Felicia eventually confides in her Russian friend, Tatiana, telling her that as Leighton accused her of being late and behaving like a silly little girl, he would treat her like one - by lifting her nightdress and spanking her bottom. She then explains the peculiar (and most welcome) change that came over Leighton after he spanked her. Clearly aroused by the spanking, he then made love to her... and Felicia admits she enjoyed both the spanking and the sex that followed. As for Leighton, he is madly in love with his beautiful wife; after the filth and degradation of the war, Felicia represents something pure and unspoiled, and he berates himself for his crude lust after spanking and defiling her. Indeed, the discipline progresses, with Leighton using not only his hand but a hairbrush and cane on his misbehaving wife's bare bottom.
This novel is set in a pre-Freudian age, and shows how this newly married couple come to terms with their emotional and repressed sexual needs, and how, ultimately, domestic discipline enriches their lives.