At the age of eighteen, Alice Ware is pretty, charming and impetuous. Back home in Yorkshire at the start of a new century, she is determined to seize any fresh opportunities and experiences that come her way.
The arrival of a new neighbour, the elegant and scandalous Mrs Emma Cheevey, leads to visits from her two highly eligible soldier sons. Alice is instantly drawn to Matthew, the younger brother - and then Captain Steven Cheevey arrives home from South Africa, where he was part of the British expeditionary force at the Relief of Mafeking.
Alice's choice is made, her future secure . . . until a reckless decision throws the lives of three people into turmoil. Reluctant to return home, she seeks refuge in the one place where she knows she will find peace, perhaps for ever. It will take a visit from the man who loves her to persuade Alice to reconsider and dare to live again.