It is a truth universally acknowledged that love is never smooth sailing. Captain William Hawksmoor of the Royal Navy never expected to inherit Kingscastle, his family's estate, and finds himself all at sea when he does so. Especially when he learns that he must marry within a year or be forever dealing with trustees.
As the new Marquis of Athelney, the captain takes command of Kingscastle and discovers much to be done to set it in order. He must also contend with his aunt, Lady Willoughby Hawksmoor, who is determined that her daughter will be his wife. When she discovers he is far more interested in Eleanor Burgess, her underpaid and much put-upon companion, Lady Willoughby shows she will stop at nothing to keep them apart.