Nineteen-year-old Lizzy and her young brother, Thomas, find themselves orphaned after a tragic accident claims the lives of their parents. Their estrange Uncle Cline arrives to claim his inheritance, and his roguish ways cast a shadow over the manor. Both the family estate and guardianship of his niece and nephew were left to him, and scheming Uncle Cline is determined to indulge his newfound wealth and rid himself of his charges. Desperate to save her brother form a dangerous life at sea, and herself from being married off to a detestable old gentleman, Lizzy knows there is only one choice left'they must run.
Lizzy and Thomas sneak away and find refuge in an abandoned cabin. There they remain hidden'until fate acquaints Lizzy with Mr. Barton, a charming gentleman who is immediately intrigued by the mysterious young woman. Concealing her identity, Lizzy is unaware that there is much more to this compassionate man than meets the eye. Through his kindness to herself and her brother, Lizzy begins to trust Mr. Barton. Soon Lizzy realizes he may be her best hope for a life in which she can live'and love'as she chooses . . .