Gold Earrings takes place in St. Joseph, MO. Angelina Mercy is the daughter of a bordello madame in Boston. She has been mentored by a pastor as her godfather, and she entreats him to help her escape her mother's reputation. He sends her to St. Joe where Rev. Jonathan Thomson, one of his seminary students, has his first church.
The citizens of St. Joe wonder about Angelina's solid gold hoop earrings and assume they indicate a sordid past. Will they accept her? Can Jonathan accept her as his wife?
In all this swirl of gossip, Angelina also finds herself at the mercy of a man who attempted to rape her in her mother's home.
The theme of this book revolves around judging people by outward appearances rather than on the heart.