The death of her mother in 1813, brings added responsibility to seventeen-year-old Anna Mason. A self-confident girl, she has to shed her girlhood sooner than she would have expected as she assumes many of her mother's tasks in running the household of Hawkshead Manor. Julian Kirby, a family friend, is entranced by Anna but she doesn't feel she is able to return his affections while her father remains so devastated by his wife's death. However, whilst Anna's father, John Mason, is an outwardly respectable merchant operating out of Whitby, he is also the brains behind a leading smuggling operation in the district. And with his focus elsewhere, his business - legitimate and otherwise - is at risk; a fact which may have serious repercussions on the Mason family and Anna's future when she stumbles on the truth...