It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a husband. So say the friends and family of impoverished widow Octavia Darcy when she unexpectedly inherits a fortune, but she has a different view and looks forward to a new life of independence.
Escaping from the efforts of her half brothers and sisters to marry her off, Octavia goes to Yorkshire to find out more about the family she never knew, and while she is there she meets and crosses swords with landowner and politician Sholto Rutherford.
When she returns to London to share a house with the dashing Lady Susan, Octavia, now secure in her new life, becomes caught up in the romantic problems of her niece. Then, the shadow of George Warren, the old nemesis of the Darcy family, falls over her, and she is threatened with the loss of both inheritance and reputation.