Alexandra Lawrence is just seventeen when the book begins and has been shouldering the responsibility of running and supporting a household in severe financial decline since the death of her profligate father many years past. An emotionally vacant mother left Alexandra to be raised primarily by her grandfather, a scholar who passed on his great love of literature and philosophy before he too died.
On her way home from a friend's one night, Alexandra stumbles upon a
robbery in progress and saves the life of Jordan Townsende, the Duke of Hawthorne, by shooting one of his assailants. She is injured in the process, however, and Jordan takes her to a nearby Inn for medical attention, believing her to be a rather effeminate boy. This hopelessly compromises Alexandra's reputation and her embittered mother tries to force a marriage between the two. Jordan agrees out of a sense of gratitude and the fact that Alexandra is so unlike the cynical, selfish women who populate London society. Alexandra is opposed to the marriage because she senses how jaded Jordan is and fears they will come to resent each other in time. A few heated embraces from Jordan, however, is enough to change her
After a mere four days of marriage, Jordan disappears and is feared dead. Alexandra is bereft, believing herself to be in love with him. She waits for word of her husband with his family and they grow close in their shared anxiety. Finally, their fears are realized and Jordan is proclaimed dead, being suspected of boarding a ship that capsized. Alexandra is asked to remain with Jordan's family and they decide to launch her into London society.
Alexandra is not an immediate success in society because she is scorned for loving a man who thought of women merely as conquests. When she discovers that her late husband led a life of debauchery, she sets out to match him for popularity and desirability with London's fashionable society. After accomplishing this feat, she realizes how petty her goal was and, at the urging of Jordan's aunt, agrees to marry Jordan's cousin, Tony.
The wedding ceremony is interrupted by none other than Jordan himself. Now the two must learn to know each other all over again and determine whether they still have feelings for one another. This will not be an easy task,however, because someone is trying to kill Jordan and Jordan does not know who to trust.
This report prepared by R.D. Watkins
Meeting by chance, Alexandra and Jordan begin their lives together until tragedy forces them apart. Once reunited, they seek to start all over yet it seems impossible after words are said that cannot be taken back and an unseen enemy attempts to make sure that no matter what, the true love of Jordan and Alexandra never comes to fruition.
This report prepared by Meredith Griffin