Beautiful Aurora Hartnell is returning home to Hadleigh Hall for Christmas. Looking forward to seeing her elderly father Lord Hartnell again, she ruefully acknowledges that life in the country is likely to seem rather dull after the elegance of her Finishing School in fashionable Paris.
Resigned to a quieter pace of life, she is therefore filled with anticipation when she hears that an eligible bachelor, Lord Moreton, has moved into nearby Elton Hall. Dreaming of an attractive stranger who will sweep her off her feet, Aurora is delighted when her father invites the mysterious Lord for dinner on Christmas Eve.
Swept up in a frenzy of excitement, and determined to look her absolute best, Aurora is so caught up in romantic dreams she hardly notices that her intimidating stepmother, Lady Harntell, is behaving oddly. Hypercritical and quickly irritated, it seems that the only time Lady Hartnell smiles is when planning the impending dinner, which she insists must be perfect for his Lordship.
But Aurora’s dreams are crushed like a daisy underfoot when she finally meets the man she has pinned all her hopes upon. A favourite of her father and stepmother’s, Aurora knows instantly that Lord Moreton is not a man she can respect or give her heart to.
Then the dashing Earl of Linford gallops into Aurora’s life. Tall, handsome and with a twinkle in his dark eyes, she immediately knows that she must put a stop to any notions of a match between herself and Lord Moreton if she is ever to find happiness.
But how can she extricate herself from Lord Moreton’s increasingly cloying attentions, without disappointing her beloved father? And just why is her stepmother so keen that they marry immediately? As the pressure to accept this unwanted proposal increases, Aurora is caught in an unhappy trap that she struggles to see a way out of.