A wealthy colonial landowner writes home to propose to the sweetheart of his youth, but a mix-up brings her younger sister instead. While they wait for the "right" sister to arrive, they must search deep for the will to resist what quickly becomes a forbidden passion.
When Madeline steps off the boat in Nova Scotia ready to meet her new husband, Adam, whom she has been in love with since she was a young girl, she finds that he is less than delighted to see her. Unbeknownst to Madeline, Adam had written to her father asking to wed Diana, Madeline's older, more beautiful sister, but Madeline's father has deceived them both since a scandal has ruined any chance Madeline might have had of marrying respectably in England. Madeline briefly entertains hopes that Adam might forget about Diana and fall in love with her, but she quickly recognizes the foolishness of this dream. Agreeing to stay together until Diana arrives, Madeline and Adam try living and working together as friends, only to gradually realize they want something more.