Governess Catherine Brawley delivers her recently orphaned charges to their uncle, the Earl of Firthley, and discovers the earl, who was seriously wounded in the Charge of the Light Brigade, has buried himself in his country home, having withdrawn from life except for the company of his wounded companions from the Crimean War. Catherine has planned to quit her job and pursue a life of her own, but first she vows to make the earl accept and love his niece and nephew. By pushing her way into his darkened sanctuary she forces him to become aware of the children's need for family, and their need makes him aware of his own. But a man needs a woman to build a proper family and the feisty, red-haired governess soon seems a likely candidate. Will secrets from Catherine's past keep them from building that family?