The heroine is Annie Abbott, daughter and only child of a poverty-stricken hill farmer and his downtrodden wife, who runs away with a theatrical group at the age of 15. Annie returns to Browhead, the beautiful lonely hill farm above Bassenthwaite Lake, with only her pride and her baby daughter to sustain her. Her parents are dead, her old friends dare not be seen with an unmarried mother and the other farmers will not help a woman who presumes to buy sheep and raise crops without a husband at her side.
Except for one man. Reed Macaulay, son of the district’s most prosperous landowner, knows that Annie is the only woman he will ever love. Secretly, he helps her any way he can.
Secretly, because Reed has promised to marry another woman . . .