Fanny–raised as a poor relation by her jocular Uncle Edgar–is ready to seize her opportunity to flee England and become one of Florence Nightingale’s nurses. Then, she sees the two small children that she came to London to meet. One glimpse of her uncle’s new (also impoverished) wards–who have been shipped all the way from China–convinces the young woman that she cannot leave them to grow up at Darkwater without her. How can she condemn them to the miserable childhood she herself endured?
Maud Radford grows up in misery in an isolated house called Greystones. Her mother is a selfish spendthrift whose infidelity may have caused her husband’s death, and it is all Maud can do to look forward to the day the hateful old woman dies. When it finally happens, Maud takes control of her own destiny, lives her own life, and even falls in love. Yet, at the same time, there is something terribly, terribly wrong happening in Greystones . . .
When the imperious Duke of Strathrannock suddenly summons his eight-year-old, orphaned niece to be raised as his heiress and the future leader of his Clan, her guardian, Fiona Windham, is filled with indignation. How dare the man who had–along with his bigoted father–disinherited her brother-in-law for marrying an Englishwoman try to separate Fiona from her ward?