Lively Leonora Cressy and her school friend, Isobel, have sworn never to fall in love. They prefer books to men and scorn other girls whose heads are full of storybook romance. But Leonora is suddenly plucked from the safety of her all girls? school and thrown into an adventure that forces her to reconsider her childhood vows. Returning home to meet the new stepfather who has taken her beloved father?s role, Leonora has two fateful encounters, one with an arrogant gentleman in a carriage, and one with a suave but appealing foreigner, Señor de Guarda. Leonora is shocked to discover that her sweet Mama has married a man she cannot admire. Horrified when he announces that he has arranged her marriage to a wealthy but unknown man, Lord Merton, she swaps the comfort of home for a passage on a cargo ship headed for Brazil, and her friend Isobel.