The Beleaguered is a story of life during the Great War: a time when newspaper reports on local sports feats were replaced with reports on military prowess; when every occasion for social intercourse became an occasion for war time fundraising; when women were implored to release their men and men were browbeaten to enlist; when personal diets, use of lawns and spare time were altered to enable the feeding and comforting of men overseas.
The peace and tranquility Jessie felt at the end of The Innocent is put asunder. The bigotry of the time ends a relationship involving a family member; it jeopardizes the safety and security of a friend.
Some mysteries of The Innocent are resolved, but Jessie’s quest to understand her grandfather’s history and the reason her family cannot enter the Presbyterian Church, though advanced, persists. Other mysteries surface.
As family members support the war effort at home and overseas, as local industries are transformed and air flight develops, as women’s suffrage takes hold and food shortages emerge, and as telegrams are received, the lives of the Stephens family members are transformed. They discover new fears, new joys and new sorrows.