Beautiful, flirtatious and romantic Valeria Montford is used to attracting admiring glances from the most eligible young men in Society. But galloping through the French countryside she discovers that pride definitely comes before a fall. A confident horsewoman, she is mortified when she is thrown in full view of Lord Charles Waterford. Embarrassed, and missing the usual praise for her equine skills, she decides that she hates Lord Waterford for making her feel humiliated.
Then she meets Sir Peter Cousins – devastatingly handsome, exciting and slightly dangerous. Enchanted by Sir Peter’s charm and obvious admiration Valeria becomes even more contemptuous of Lord Waterford’s quieter nature.
Back in England, Valeria’s beloved father sadly confesses that a cad has defrauded him of his fortune. He can see only one way to pay his creditors and escape total financial ruin – Valeria must make a good marriage, and he already has a prospective suitor in mind.
Still dreaming of Sir Peter and horrified at the prospect of a marriage without love, Valeria’s heart is thrown into confusion. So when Lord Waterford suggests that she helps him restore his Castle she seizes the chance to escape, hoping against hope that Sir Peter will find her and offer a proposal that will satisfy everyone.
In London, as the cream of Society prepares for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, Valeria is faced with the most difficult decision of her life. Should she accept her father’s choice of suitor and assure her family’s place in Society? Or hold out for the man she really loves?
But just as Valeria comes to understand the true nature of love, friendship and security it seems that she has lost all chance of happiness forever.