Convinced that her betrothed, Viscount Halifax, offered for her under duress, Miss Mathilda Heath falls in love with and elopes to India with the viscount's childhood friend, Sir James Parmenter. Ten years later she returns to England, a widow with two young sons, determined to make a life for them on her late husband's estate near Bath. She does not expect her ex-betrothed, now the Earl of Southmoor, to take note of her arrival, much less approach her.
She is wrong. In trying to avoid him, Mathilda forms a close friendship with his friend, the Hon. Willoughby Hampton, who shows her special attention. Once home in Bath, Mathilda finds herself with several assiduous suitors, among them the man she had broken her promise to years before. On his part, Miles Stephens, still resentful of being jilted at the altar, plans a terrible vindication for the woman who broke his heart.
As the time grows nearer to put his plan in action, Miles begins to doubt the wisdom of his carefully orchestrated revenge on Mathilda. Is he losing his heart again to the same woman? Once put into motion, however, he cannot stop the rush towards a climax he no longer wants. Can Mathilda forgive him as he has long since forgiven her?.