When the famous portrait artist Napier Todd stumbles across Edith Hanson scrubbing floors, he is immediately struck by her beauty. Within a few weeks Napier and Edith are married and she moves into his large country house - much to the envy of the other maids. However the marriage is troubled and Edith falls seriously ill. Napier takes her to the idyllic Cornish fishing village of Newbourne to convalesce where Edith meets Celandine.
Celandine Benyon is a struggling artist who moved to Paris to seek inspiration and fell in love with another painter, Sheridan Montague Robertson. The couple eloped to Gretna Green after Celandine was disowned by her mother, and together they set up home in Newbourne.
Because Celandine understands Napier's artistic temperament, she tries to help Edith with her troubled marriage. However, although her advice succeeds beyond Edith's wildest dreams, it also causes tragic repercussions.
And with the dangerously attractive Alfred Talisman waiting in the wings, will Edith ever find happiness?
A story of love, art, envy and betrayal, set during the Victorian period, by one of the most popular romantic novelists writing today