When Charlotte Meldon's father dies, she believes herself to be destitute, but a lawyer's letter reveals that she is not only part of the great Morland family, but wealthy and a countess in her own right. She is expected to make a great marriage, and with her vivacious cousin Fanny by her side, she is launched into her first Season. But it is Fanny, the hardened flint, who loses her heart first, while Charlotte catches the eye of Oliver Fleetwood, the most eligible man in London.
Then the Season ends in disillusion, and Charlotte rebels against a life of idle amusement. With calm courage she flouts convention and embarks on a new journey which will change her life in very unexpected ways.