In 1837, at her graduation, Anna Collins has her whole life ahead - a teaching post, a handsome fiance and a future which twinkles with promise. A week later, her life lies in tatters. Nearly destroyed by grief and despair, Anna decides to prove to both her fiance's family and her own, as well as to herself, that she can succeed as a teacher, and survive without a man in her life. When after a good search the only opening for her as a teacher is at Fort Towson in Indian Territory, she accepts it as an answer to her prayers. Anna joins the Jewel Belle paddle steamer for her river journey. She promptly begins a host of adventures, including being rescued from a soldier's drunken advances by the chivalrous Captain Nathaniel. Their friendship deepens, but when they separate at Shreve's Town she finds herself doubting she will ever be truly loved. Throwing herself into her work, she battles with hostility from the townsfolk and a terrifying encounter with a native Indian, facing her demons again and again as she grows to understand herself and her new home.
But it is not until a twist of fate brings both the men in her life back into the picture that Anna truly understands where her love lies, and that it cares not for time, but for the heart.
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