Louisa Tomlinson, having recently arrived at her new home in Dorset, manages to make a bad impression on the handsome Finlay Armitage. He finds her a little wild and in need of taming. She finds him high-handed and overbearing, but living in close proximity means they will encounter one another often.
A man of little tolerance, Louisa learns that Finlay has his own methods of controlling her willful nature by turning her over his knee for a sound spanking.
When Finlay asks her to be his wife, she refuses, having fallen under the spell of the charlatan Clarence Pencutt, a man of dubious character. Finlay tries to warn her away and win her affections, but Louisa is not so sure. In her innocence, she cannot see Clarence for who he really is. Besides, does she really want a husband that will take her in hand and curb her defiant spirit?