Is life a predestined series of events, or is life what you make of it? Sometimes, matter how hard you try to follow the path to happiness, life has other plans for you. Such is the case for Mary Margaret and Elana, the daughters of Doris Madison. The rural area around Chatsworth, England in 1845 is a world centered on class differences. The aristocracy holds the money and power, and the lower class work for them without much chance of reward or advancement. Doris has brought her girls up to work hard and be content with their lot in life. The wealthy have been brought up to believe themselves to be far above the commoners, although some can be more igrant about it than others. Mary Margaret and Elana are so different in many ways, and yet they have one common goal. They both want thing more than a rmal life brimming with happiness. Mary Margaret, marrying into the aristocracy against the wishes of both families, is the catalyst for a series of events, involving among other things, murder, kidnapping, and wrongful imprisonment, that will have the reader contemplating the inherent good and evil that live within different people and the effect they have on those around them. Mary Margaret's new mother-in-law, Lady Evelyn Birmingham, is obsessed with wealth and power, and when her son, Charles, marries the housekeeper's daughter for her beauty, goodness, and intelligence rather than her station in life, she formulates a plan to destroy everyone involved and guarantee her control over the family estate. What results is a domi effect of one tragedy after ather which tests all of the characters' faith to the limits.