Emmaline has always understood from her mother that as the eldest of four daughters she must marry, but it seems that no proposals are going to come her way. Until, at a crowded ball, Julius makes his way to her side and waltzes her off. The next morning he makes it plain that he wants to marry her, and will marry her no matter what. So it is that Emmaline finds herself on the way to England from America to meet her husband to be, her hopes as high as they have ever been.
What greets her when she arrives in the strange house, full of odd guests and eccentric servants, is far from being the glorious place that Julius has promised her. Indeed as the days go by, her life as Julius’s fiancée becomes more and more unhappy, just as Julius himself seems to have changed beyond belief, Emmaline cannot see any future to their relationship, and that is before his past, and the history of his house gradually make themselves plain to her.