Violet Townsend died eight years ago, the day that her father’s will stipulated that she marry a stranger. The last time she laid eyes upon her husband was the eve of their wedding, when he had her shipped off to be educated at an elite finishing school—which turned out to be a nightmare come to life. After engineering a daring escape, Violet reinvented herself to avoid detection, living beneath assumed names, working in menial positions, always on the run…and always aware that her husband had never stopped searching for her.
John Darling had not wanted a wife thrust upon him—particularly not a seventeen-year-old girl who had best been described as ‘headstrong’ and ‘willful.’ But when Violet fled her finishing school and he had discovered the truth of what had occurred there, he had been forced to confront the ruin he had made of her life. In the years since, he has tracked her across England, collecting the pieces of the lives she has left in her wake, and finding that the image of the woman revealed through them isn’t at all what he imagined her to be.
Now resurrected, Violet has a life that belongs to her once again, a home, and a career as a teacher at her dearest friend’s newly-founded school of deportment. But when her long-estranged husband arrives upon her doorstep as one of her students, it threatens to usurp everything Violet has struggled to build. Only, her husband isn’t quite the cold, unfeeling man from her memories. He claims only to want to get to know her, to make amends…but how could she possibly trust him?