Teaching Rebecca tells the story of a young woman in the early 19th century. Recently orphaned, Rebecca is placed in a school by her uncle who wants nothing to do with her. Upon his death, she discovers that she has no options other than the one offered by the headmaster. She is quickly stripped of her station and becomes just another servant below stairs. Life is hard but she is determined to make the most of a bad situation. Rebecca spends her days toiling for others and doing all that she can to avoid Miss Lambert, the headmistress who has taken an intense dislike to the small woman. No one expected anyone to come to Rebecca’s rescue. On the day of her eighteen birthday, she is called into the headmaster’s office where her life undergoes yet another major upheaval.
Eager to escape, Rebecca finds herself agreeing to wed a man she has never seen before. As soon as the ink on the parchment is dry her new husband informs her that he has no need for a typical wife but that he will teach her all she needs to know. She realizes she has only traded one type of servitude for another and wonders if she will find heaven or step deeper into hell.