When her father dies in a terrible accident, Rose Vivian's world is turned upside down. Suddenly, the spinster daughter of an overbearing Victorian headmaster is in charge of a select school for young ladies on the Cornish cliffs of Tye Rock. Rose's newfound freedom is both frightening and intoxicating; she can now admit her growing attraction to the charming history master whom she has mined to for help in running the school. And the family solicitor is also flatteringly attentive. Still, Rose is very much alone in the world. Perhaps now she should seek out her mother, who was driven from Tye Rock under the cloud of a scandal . . .