Margaret's father dies and she is thus taken back to London by her aunt. After she learns that she inherits a lot of money from her father's best friend, Mr. Bell, she goes back to Milton, in order to save Mr. Thornton's mill.
After Margaret refused to marry Mr. Thornton, their relationship is rather tense. Meanwhile her brother comes home illegally and hiding him causes some severe problems for Margaret and her family. Also, Margaret's mother and Margaret's friend Bessy die.