Abigail Barton has been brought up in Bath by Lady Jordan, her own parents having died when she was a baby. She does not wish to go to London for the Season, nor to marry, but her trustee, the enigmatic Mr Wood, insists. Abigail is sponsored by Lady Padmore, who is bringing out her own daughter Caroline this Season and is determined to marry her to distant cousin Julian, despite both parties' lack of enthusiasm. Meanwhile, Julian, the despair of mothers and their marriageable daughters, is intrigued by Abigail's unconventionality and after his initial refusal, agrees to lend his house for the ball. Then Abby's childhood friend Hartley arrives in London, Caroline's brother Dudley sells out from the army, and other men too make Abby offers of marriage. She must accept someone, but who?