But her sister and husband have disappeared from high society as they raise a family at their country estate. Can Beatrice persuade them to chaperone her in London? And what about Beatrice's business with the curate, Mr. O'Brien, whom she rashly promised to marry years earlier. At seventeen now, she has no wish to marry a mere clergyman-despite his agreeable countenance and gentle, understanding ways.
When Mr. Tristan Barton becomes the tenant of the Manor House, Beatrice's hopes seem to have found their object. But when Ariana falls gravely ill, secrets come to light, motives are revealed, and the pretenses that are easy to keep up in the darkness begin to crumble. Hearts are bared, truths uncovered, and when all is said and done, a country house courtship like no other has occurred!