Sylvester, the Duke of Salford, reaslises that it's time for him to wed. He has shortlisted five girls as eligible - not being very romantic - but seems unable to decide between these girls. After conslting his mother about the problem, she recommends the daughter of her deceased best friend - the hon. Phoebe Marlow. The somewhat arrogant Duke has no doubt that he will be able to make Phoebe his wife. But Pheobe has already had a glimpse of Sylvester, and didn't like what she saw. In fact, she used him as a model for the villain in a romance she wrote under a false name.
So when Sylvester comes to visit Pheobe and her family, she runs away with her best friend, Tom Orde. Unluckily, however, they break a wheel on their carriage on the way to London, and are forced to put up at a dingy inn along the way - the same inn that Sylvester is obliged to stay at after snow blocks the road. Tom has broken his leg, and Sylvester helps him and Phoebe until the snow melts. By this time Sylvester and Phoebe are good friends, and Phoebe is ready to kill herself for writing the book, which is due to be published in a month.
When Sylvester finds out that Phoebe ran away to avoid having to marry him, he is furious - he had thought she wanted to marry Tom Orde. So he resolves to make Phoebe fall in love with him and then reject her to get his revenge. He forgets these plans, however, once he starts to fall in love with her.
But then the book comes out, and enjoys immediate success.
Sylvester isn't happy.
This report prepared by Hannah Warnaar