Bridget Dean Mordaunt was a woman of consequence in her own part of the world. Inheriting her father's businesses at the age of nineteen, by the time she was twenty-three in 1880, she was running them as confidently as any man. Yet the path destiny required her to follow was not an easy one. Her feckless cousin Victoria became infatuated with Lionel Filmore, the fortune-hunting elder son of an old but impoverished family living in the decayed grandeur of Grove House. Bridget had no illusions about Lionel, but Victoria's happiness was paramount to her.
So a pattern began to form that would shape the lives of generations to come, a pattern of some good and some great evil, but all of it inexorably linking Bridget ever more closely with the Filmores and their house.