Allan's Miscellany 1844
As the daughter of a lord, Sophia has led a sheltered life on her family's country estate. She is engaged to marry the rich, handsome Lord Manton. Theirs might not be a love match, but she was not raised on romantic fancies. Theirs will be a brilliant match and will unite two noble families. As becomes a young lady, she will live in luxury forever after and will never want for anything.
Yet Sophia's fairy-tale life is abruptly torn apart one cold winter morning, when she finds the body of her father's gamekeeper. As it turns out, Joseph Clifton is just one of many gamekeepers who have been brutally murdered by poachers that winter, and Sophia becomes aware that life beyond the gates of her father's estate is far less idyllic than she ever imagined.
Her life is thrown into further turmoil as Joseph Clifton's case catches the interest of several members of the periodical press, among them the enigmatic Jack Fletcher. Reason demands that she stay far away from this harsh man, who seems to hold the landed classes—people like her—in deep contempt. And yet he is the most exciting man she has ever met, and being near him makes her heart beat quicker.
More than anybody else, she trusts him to tell her the truth about the situation she has uncovered. As Jack confronts Sophia with the bitter reality of rural life and the tensions within the rural communities, he makes her question everything she has ever known.
In the end, will Sophia listen to reason and return to her old, sheltered life? Or will she listen to her heart and grasp all her courage to throw herself into the biggest adventure of her life?