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The 1840s: a time of increasing social awareness, particularly for progressive cotton mill owner Adrian Bennett and his son Christopher. One social issue Christopher has never considered is violence against women. A Robert Browning poem and a chance encounter with Katerina Valentino change everything. Katerina fears for her life because of her father's violent behavior. When Christopher is entranced by the delicate, dark-haired beauty, he decides to rescue her - by marrying her. But Katerina's years of abuse have left her physically and emotionally scarred, threatening the newlyweds' happiness. Is Christopher's tender affection enough to help heal Katerina's broken spirit?