Lost in a daydream, 18-year-old Anita Lavenham is awoken from her reverie by a sermon about the "devil," when a handsome gentleman asks her to open the gate she?s leaning on, a gentleman whose imperious, yet raffish air leads her to think that he is Lucifer personified! Anita and her two sisters are impoverished after the loss of their father and their mother?s illness. Soon she is obliged to go to live in Harrogate with her severe Great-Aunt Matilda, who is determined to marry her off as soon as possible to the aging and boorish local parson. By chance, she meets the Dowager Duchess of Ollerton at the Harrogate Pump Room, where she realises that the duchess? son is none other than her very own handsome fallen angel.