As a young woman must marry and become engaged in proper duties, art can only be an accomplishment and a recreation. Despite opposition at every turn, Charity Baxendale dreams of becoming a renowned portrait painter. She is heartened to receive two significant commissions from esteemed family members, and when a rakish Scottish baron commissions her to do his portrait, she dares hope she is one step closer. When Robin, Lord Stanberry, with whom Charity has had a long friendship, asks her to marry him, she must choose between marriage and her career. Robin is heir to a dukedom, and Charity fears that not only would she be unsuited to life as a duchess, but also that her burgeoning career might end before it begins. And besides, Robin has made no mention of love. After his uncle and heir die, Robin becomes the Duke of Harwood. Never having expected such an event, he feels himself unfitted for such a position. He was perfectly content living as a viscount in Tunbridge Wells, writing a manuscript on ornithology. Now he must leave all that he loves. He’d hoped to have Charity at his side by the time he took his place at Harwood Castle, for her pragmatic nature and strength of character would be of enormous help to him.
Should he have thrown himself at her feet and declared an undying love? Charity would have seen through it, for that was not the sort of friendship they enjoyed. But her refusal has brought him lower than he’d thought possible. Can he change her mind, despite the distance that now lay between them?