Home from the Civil War a hopeless cripple and the master of a ruined plantation, James Sheffield must learn to live again. But a dark secret eats away at his conscience, giving him little hope for a bright future. Alcohol is his only escape. When an intriguing woman enters his life, James somehow resolves to make a new start. But, considering James's history of misfortune, Joy McGuire, a pastor's daughter, can never be his. She is promised to another-the handsome, young assistant pastor, a man who is far better than James and quick to judge his ugly habits. Will James ever conquer the tyranny of his past? And will Joy listen to the truth of her heart instead of the rumors that threaten to sever their relationship?