The young Helen Sarsfield arrives at the stately home of Lord and Lady Blanchford-Carter to begin work as a scullery maid, completely unaware that their lordships have turned part of the mansion into a high-class brothel for the upper echelons of society. Their head butler, Hawkins, through his infatuation with the evil Lady Cynthia, has agreed by whatever means possible, to tempt, lure, seduce, cajole, trick or blackmail the servant girls into prostitution.
Kitchenmaid Elizabeth, under the pretext of befriending her, moves to begin a lesbian relationship with an unsuspecting Helen who, meanwhile, has become attracted to stableboy Jonathan.Unfortunately, before their relationship can really develop, Jonathan disappears and through his disappearance and the worry of her twin brother's enlistment in the army (the Boer War is raging in Africa) Helen is tricked into prostitution.
Because of her youth and beauty she quickly becomes a favourite in the salon, but following the murder of Hawkins and a major argument which splits their lordships, she escapes from the salon (but not from Elizabeth) and agrees to live with his lordship."I shall divorce Cynthia," Lord Edward lied,"and you. my darling, shall be the new mistress of Stockswell Hall." Stockswell Hall was actually two separate mansions. As it states in the book, it was actually two individual mansions that came into being through the inability of the Blanchford-Carters to agree on how the composition of a single dwelling acceptable to them both should be completed.
Helen eventually rebels against the evil all around her. The war in Africa and the beginnings of revolution in Ireland will both reach out to affect her future.
This report prepared by Kathleen Riley