Proposing to the Earl of Aynsley seems a sensible -- if unconventional -- solution to Miss Rebecca Peabody's predicament. As a married woman, she will be free to keep writing her essays on civil reform. Meanwhile, the distinguished widower will gain a stepmother for his seven children and a caretaker for his vast estate. But the earl wants more than a convenient bride. He craves a true partner, a woman he can cherish. To his surprise, the bookish Miss Peabody appears to have every quality he desires…except the willingness to trust her new husband. Yet despite his family's interference, and her steadfast independence, time and faith could make theirs a true marriage of hearts.