Kate Keene's childhood memories compel her to take her newly-acquired architectural skills to a dilapidated Louisiana mansion. But when she returns to the Reconstruction-era South, she's shocked to discover the man she's dreamed of for so long has become a bitter, angry recluse. Colin Delany, the handsome older brother of her best friend, has lost all he once held dear, with no hope of ever restoring the Belle Fleuve mansion and plantation. Filled with spunk and determination, Kate feels it's her duty to help, so when Colin demands she roll up her drawings and get out, she refuses. And when Colin forces Kate to promise his dying sister they will care for his niece and nephew, she complies. Having been orphaned herself, Kate realizes she must put the children's welfare above her own, even if it means a marriage of convenience. But will Colin's hovering darkness ever lift? And can Kate's persistent love and faith transform their uncertain future?