In peacefulHertfordshire of New South Wales in the mid-nineteenth century, a bored and reckless man who leads a swashbuckling life in the army of the East Indian Company is told by the overseer that a married man has more chance of gaining a pardon from the penal colony and being granted land.
Gentle Mary Anne becomes the unwitting wife of such a man, sold for a bottle of rum. With no other prospects, she takes her mother's advice to love and care for her husband and his children in hopes that loving a hard man consistently will bring about the happily-ever-after she longs for.
Wilhelmina gains The Grand Duchess's offer of patronage. Frederick Chopin has agreed to work with her. The stage is set for an illustrious career as a concert pianist. But readymade happiness is not to be. Pressures brought to bear by the social and political state of the country along with the opportunities of migration to faraway New South Wales and the memories of the French Revolution only fifty years before bear heavily on Wilhelmina's father.
Disappointments and hardships follow, further tested by her loving but wayward husband. Through it all, Wilhelmina's indomitable faith, forgiveness, tough love and courage see her through the trials, giving her the strength to fulfill her dreams in a totally unexpected way.