Cornwall, 1798. Eighteen months have passed since Midshipman Edmund Melville was declared missing, presumed dead, and Amelia Carew has fallen in love with a young physician, Luke Bohenna. But, on her birthday, Amelia suddenly receives a letter from Edmund announcing his imminent return. When he returns, it is clear that his time away has changed him. Amelia, however, is determined to nurse him back to health and honour his heroic actions in the Navy by renouncing Luke.