Priscilla Johansson, daughter of Violet Hailey from book one, "Violet's Vindication," is grown up and anticipating her life as a teacher in her small community outside of Santa Fe, in New Mexico Territory. She also hopes to one day marry and raise a family there. When she receives an invitation to join the prestigious Stratford Girl's Academy in St. Louis, Missouri, however, she embarks on a future she never envisioned. Arriving at the St. Louis train station, she is met by Brentley Stratford, the stepson of Mrs. Olivia Stratford, the grand lady who founded the academy. The gentleman is so elegant and handsome that he takes her breath away.
Brentley Stratford cannot understand his stepmother's reasoning for hiring a teacher from New Mexico Territory. He loves the Wild West, having spent time there working for his magnate father's railroad empire, but placing this young woman in such a prestigious teaching position befuddles him; especially when he first sees her. The lady is quite the opposite of the teachers and students at the Academy. She is gauchely dressed, tall and big-boned, and he wonders how she will be received by the "dainties" at the academy. However, she does have the softest and prettiest doe eyes he has ever seen. Soon he becomes enamored by her ability to connect not only with the students, but his cantankerous stepmother, as well.