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?
Ann Colbert–recently married to the charming Glenn Stacey–is struck by a sudden blow: her father dies, leaving her alone in Boston. After receiving a desperate, half-finished letter from her childhood nurse, Miss Lucy, Ann rushes to fly to her childhood home in Devon. There, she meets the cousins she’d never known: the Thornes of Valicombe, a crumbling old mansion. After learning of Miss Lucy’s sudden death just days before, Ann sets herself up in her nurse’s cottage, determined to wait for her husband to arrive. Glenn never appears, however, and Ann finds herself drawn into a terrible intrigue.
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 . . .
After a three-year affair that ended in heart-break, Louise Amberley is determined not to make the same mistake again. Therefore, when Otto Winther–a charming, handsome Dane–pursues the young travel-writer, she insists he wed her before she’ll let him into her bed. Unfortunately for Louise, her infatuation allows her to be rushed into a quick, secret wedding–before she discovers a series of devastating secrets about her new spouse.
Mary Grey’s life isn’t what one would wish. She spent her last few dollars to travel from Canada to the UK, where she lives in a dingy apartment and works in a cafe. Then, on a day trip into the countryside, she meets the dangerous and charismatic Connor, who mistakes Mary for a long-lost heiress, Annabel Winslow. Due to Mary’s poverty, her remarkable resemblance to Annabel, and Con’s passionate desire to manipulate Annabel’s dying grandfather into willing the Winslow land to him, a plan emerges: Mary will pose as the presumably-dead Annabel and ensure that Con gets what he wants. In exchange, Mary will receive a competence. All is going well until a man from Annabel’s past appears–and Mary realizes that her life may be in as much danger as Annabel’s had been eight years earlier.
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?