Learning her father’s uncle has asked for her to come to America and be his sole heir, seventeen-year-old Ella McCarthy should be flattered and excited. The circumstances, however, are quite daunting. She must leave her loving Irish family to marry her uncle’s neighbor’s younger son, Sean Brannock, and oversee his horses at a place called Beacon Hill. She is to bring Irish Drafts from her grandfather’s stables to breed with the fine Brannock Thoroughbreds thereby producing versatile Irish Sport horses. Everyone thinks this is a grand idea. Ella, however, cannot help feeling she is being bartered in some land and horse deal.
Embracing her fate, Ella boards a ship to cross the Atlantic. In 1897, the voyage holds enough travails to last her a lifetime. When her horse’s hooves are on terra firma, she is sure things will improve but bad news awaits. Her father’s uncle has died. In his stead, the gentlemanly Brannock brothers are there to escort her to Kentucky.
Padraig, the older brother, assures her the wedding will take place. While seeing to her every need, Ella finds him authoritative, taciturn, and a bit prickly. Along the way, Sean, her fiancé, confides he has no desire to marry her. Despite this, affable relationships are formed.
Over the coming months, years, and decades as mistress of Beacon Hill, Ella meets heartache and happiness in her own indomitable fashion. Follow her as she finds her own way and forges a legacy for future Brannock horsewomen to follow.