Hannah Winstead’s life is rudely interrupted at age seventeen when her guardians attempt to force her to marry their friend Lord Earling. Unsure of her right to refuse, she runs away.
A handsome, intriguing young sea captain, Aaron Clarke, is shocked to find Hannah nearly frozen in a barn. He abets her escape by taking her on board his ship bound for America.
Hannah adjusts to her new life and develops her skill and passion for dress design, while assisting Captain Clarke in the care of his wards, two young boys. All is well until Lord Earling arrives on the scene. After an angry confrontation with Hannah, Lord Earling returns to the local inn, where the sheriff discovers him a few days later—brutally murdered. The prime suspect: Miss Hannah Winstead!