Lavinia Ellison, the not-so-meek minister's daughter, believes handsome appearances count for nothing unless matched by good character and actions. While all the other villagers of St. Hampton Heath are swooning over the recently returned seventh Earl of Hawkesbury, she isn't impressed. She refuses to give her respect to a man who won't take responsibilities seriously and help those who are supposed to be able to depend on him. In her eyes, Nicholas Stamford is just as arrogant and reckless as his brother, who took the most important person in Livvie's world.
Nicholas is hindered by the weight of his own guilt and responsibility, by the pain his careless brother caused, and by the legacy of war he just left. The short visit home to St. Hampton Heath won't be enough to lift a small part of the burdens he carries. He doesn't want to bother with the lives of villagers when there's already a bailiff on the job. His perspective starts to shift when the hoydenish, intelligent, and very opinionated Miss Ellison challenges him to see past his pain and pride. With her sweet voice echoing in his head, he may even start to care. His isn't the only heart that needs to change.
They may have something each other needs. With society's opposition, ancestral obligations, and a shocking family secret, there may be too many obstacles standing their way.