Captain Kenneth Wilding returns after the Napoleonic Wars to Sutterton Hall to claim his inheritance, only to discover that his father has ruined the estate. The only way to salvage it and provide a dowry for his sister is to accept his creditor's request that he infiltrate the household of England's most prominent painter, Sir Anthony Seaton and solves a possible murder.
Kenneth takes a job as secretary to Sir Anthony, but solving the mystery around the death of Sir Anthony's wife is complicated by Kenneth's growing attraction to Sir Anthony's daughter, Rebecca. Rebecca's reputation was ruined by a youthful indiscretion so she lives in seclusion painting for herself. Kenneth starts painting with Rebecca and as their artistic interests coincide, so does their mutual attraction. They become lovers.
Kenneth learns what happened to Sir Anthony's wife and can reclaim his ancestral home and make a future for his sister, but a future with Rebecca appears impossible. Not only does she believe marriage is not for her, but she does not know Kenneth's true identity.
This report prepared by L. Watson