1867. Euphemia Boothby is orphaned at the age of eighteen. With no other guardian, she goes to live with her adopted uncle Tristan and his three sons-Joshua, the intense, scholarly eldest, Jacob the mild, sensual middle one and Jack the hedonistic, impulsive youngest. Something is amiss at the Manor however. Raised voices in the night, secret conversations, strange visitors...Effie does not know who to trust. Which brother will be her friend, which her enemy and which her lover? Adventure, romance and death ensue as she realises her new family has secrets and plans which will change her life forever.
1870. Sarah Scraghill has been sent away from Maythwaite by her father, to thwart her relationship with Jack, the most reckless of the Marriott brothers. She now lives in London with her rich cousins, the Porters. Jack visits the Porters one day, not knowing she lives there and a misunderstanding leads to him becoming engaged to her cousin Amelia. A necklace goes missing, hearts are broken and their social life is thrown into confusion as everyone works out who loves whom, how to proceed and get their heart's desire.