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The fifth Earl of Torgreave Rupert Manningford has determined to reform his rakish ways. Ten years of dissolute living have brought him no pleasure, and offer no future. He returns to sobriety and eschews gambling and debauchery in his effort to reform. He intends to repossess his rented family estate and mend his relationship with his younger brother who is a vicar of the church. It has even crossed his mind to find and marry a virtuous lady, if one will accept him, and get himself an heir.

His plans are disrupted by the arrival of a beautiful young Scottish woman. Miss Cordelia Tyninghame of Edinburgh has traveled to London in midwinter to see something of England. She has been in correspondence, she believes, with the fourth Earl of Torgreave, a friend of her late father, and is to stay with him. However, she has actually corresponded with the fifth earl's housekeeper who has deceived Delia in a misguided attempt to redeem Rupert.

Delia's arrival heralds more than simple surprise for everyone. Her appearance reveals a remarkable mystery, a puzzle that defies understanding. Rupert and Delia's search for comprehension takes them from the ice of the Frost Fair to the beginning of the London season. It encompasses a reunion between Rupert and his brother Charles and the reestablishment of the earl at his home of Manningford Tower. Propinquity conducts them to love, but love will lead only to anguish until the mystery is resolved. Solution of the mystery will alter Delia's past, Rupert's future, and the lives of everyone around them. And it will allow love to heal their hearts and transform their lives.

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