Sinjun Sherbrooke has grown up around 3 older brothers and is comfortable with the way they talk about women and sexual matters. She is a evesdropper by nature. She has never wanted for anything in her life. She is also a serious heiress. She is in no hurry to marry. She is in her 2nd London season and her brother Douglas, Earl of Northcliffe has assured her that he simply wants her to enjoy the season. Sinjun is bored. One evening at a ball Sinjun sees a man across the ballroom and is instantly drawn to him. She sets out to learn who he is. It is quite possibly love at first site. A few evenings later she sees him again at the theatre and overhearing a conversation he is in with a friend learns that he must marry an heiress to save his lands and family. He hopes her to be toothsome and intelligent into the bargain. She walks up to him and introduces herself as an heiress and asks if he thinks she is toothsome enough for him.
Colin Kinross is the Scottish Earl of Ashburnham. His father and his older brother, both deceased, have stripped the title and lands of everything. If Colin does not marry an heiress he will loose his crofters and he and his family will live in genteel poverty and soon be overrun by neighboring families. He has secrets, more than even he knows he has. He is attacked while in London and Sinjun finds him feverish and delirious in his boarding house room and fetches her brother who has Colin taken to Northcliffe Hall to be nursed back to health. While Colin is recovering, Douglas learns that Colin while a nice man and well educated is thought to have murdered his first wife. He tries unsuccessfully to stop the marriage. Sinjun manages to help Colin leave Northcliffe with her to go to Scotland where they will marry. They go to Edinbourgh to find Douglas and Ryder waiting for them. AFter much yelling and fisicuffs, Sinjun tells her brothers that they are too late and she and Colin are already married. Against their better judgement the brothers return to England.
Colin and Sinjun travel on to Vere Castle his family home. There Sinjun sees first hand just how much money is needed to make repairs and furnish supplies for the crofters to restore the castle and farms.Colin is gone much of the time buying sheep, grain, etc. and Sinjun is left to her own to battle with the mean Aunt Arleth. There are also 2 step-children to learn about. Sinjun catches a fever after being out in the rain in the swamps and Aunt Arleth tries to kill her by ignoring her and not nursing her properly. Her step son, Phillip, rides to Edinborough to fetch Colin who rides back to the castle immediatley to see to her. Sinjun makes as many changes as possible at the castle only to be thwarted by Aunt Arleth at every turn but she holds her own and finally has the castle cleaned and repairs made. She asks Colin's cousin why Colin does not want her to do anything and he tells her that when he was growing up whenever Colin had anything and his older brother wanted it his father took it from Colin and gave it to his brother. Colin learned over the years to hide and protect what was his.
The mystery of who killed Colin's first wife grows as the neighboing clan tries to raid Colin's estate. Fiona, his 1st wife, came from that clan and they blame Colin for her death. Aunt Arleth blames Colin for the death but for different reason. Her hatred of Colin and her refusal to acknowledge him as the clan leader grows through out the story until at the end we learn of her love for Colin's father and hatred of his mother, her sister. Aunt Arleth is also killed and one of Colin's favorite cousins after kidnapping Sinjun and trying to blackmail Colin for money. The Sherbrooke wives and brothers also visit Vere Castle bringing lots of yelling and laughing into the story.
This report prepared by plnorth