At 13, Emily is tall, restless and impatient - ladylike she certainly isn't! Emily despises such things as needlework, but she has a vivid imagination and is a keen artist and, along with her talented sister, Charlotte, loves to write. But Emily stumbles upon a real-life story, when she encounters the vagabond Heslington while out walking her beloved dog, Captain, on the Yorkshire Moors. Heslington is hiding out in an abandoned cottage, on the run from someone, but claims he is guilty of nothing. All he can tell Emily is that he is passionately in love with a Miss Martha Holmes, but has been forbidden from seeing her. Martha's family believe Heslington is only after her money, but he is prepared to live like a pauper, he says, if he can only be with the girl he loves. Touched by his story, Emily finds herself drawn into the whole sorry mess, acting as a reluctant go-between for Martha and Heslington, but convinced she is doing the right thing. But when Heslington reveals his dark side, Emily finds herself doubting him, not knowing what to believe. Is Heslington the love-torn romantic hero of her imaginings or he is mad...?