After their family mansion burns to the ground, the lovely Erlina Sherwood and her little brother, the 6th Baronet of Sherwood go to the neighbouring estate to ask if they can stay at Meldon Hall. It is just about the only habitable residence in the village left after the Marquis of Meldon on inheriting the family seat disavowed the place and everyone in or near it.
Because of his neglect, the Hall has fallen into disrepair – and since local workers and even the Vicar haven’t been paid most of the local houses are falling down and most of the villagers have left the area in despair.
Expecting only to find the Hall’s caretaker in residence, Erlina is taken aback to find a strange man sitting alone in the darkness of the shuttered drawing room –
Soon she is discover why the embittered and blind “Wicked Marquis” has so cruelly neglected his people and property. Meeting his greedy, unscrupulous cousin and his beautiful lover, she also realises there are people in the world who far more wicked than the Marquis, with whom she is falling in love.