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It is the year 1801. Polly Forster is a beautiful but penniless Northumbrian girl who longs to escape from a stifling, unhappy existence as a companion to a miserly spinster cousin. And now her chance has come. The romantic and mysterious man she has met at the home of a friend has charged her with a dangerous mission--to carry an urgent and unknown message to the last remaining Jacobites among the Scottish settlers in Nova Scotia. In a moment of mad passion she accepts the charge--and his offer of a rendezvous in Canada and a promise of marriage. Polly embarks on the Agnes MacVeagh, a sailing ship bound for Pictou, Nova Scotia, with a cargo of refugees from the Highland Clearances in Scotland. But on the hazardous voyage Polly is assailed by doubts. New friends have opened wider vistas for her, and unexpected incidents force her to question her reckless actions and her relationship with Lucian, a man whom she barely knows. Does he really love her? What will happen if he breaks his word? What is in the Jacobite letter? And how much does the British government agent on the ship, the handsome, fascinating yet enigmatic Augustus Fenwick, know about Polly's curious involvement in a treasonable enterprise that is punishable by hanging? Polly must discover the answers to these and many other questions before the perilous voyage is ended if she is to find the happiness she seeks in the new world.
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