The Duke of Rockliffe is thirty-six years old, head of his house and responsible for his young sister, Nell. He is therefore under some pressure to choose a suitable bride. Whilst accompanying Nell to what he speedily comes to regard as the house-party from hell, he meets Adeline Kendrick - acid-tongued, no more than passably good-looking yet somehow alluring. Worse still, her relatives are quite deplorable - from a spoiled, ill-natured cousin to a sadistic, maniplulative uncle. As a prospective bride therefore, Adeline is out of the question. Until, that is a bizarre turn of events cause the Duke to throw caution to the wind and make what his world will call a mesalliance.