As a widow, Lady Emma has power over her lands and castle, and delights in aiding young knights, especially younger sons who will have no lands of their own, to gain poise, knowledge of courtly love and good manners. After all, she greatly misses her dearly loved husband, so what better way to honor him than by helping young knights turn into great husbands like he had been?
Into her world comes Robert, an older, landless knight, battle-hardened and full of natural kindness but rough in manners and lacking in courtly virtues. Despite this, Emma finds herself powerfully attracted to the handsome, protective Robert and he, too, is enchanted by her. They woo each other, learning much about themselves and falling in love. Robert especially begins to understand that he is loveable—Emma shows him this and understands how his mother's lack of care has scarred him. She longs to heal him with her love, to share her life with him forever, but will their difference in status stand in her way?