Eugenia Dovedale's father had been high steward to the Marquis of Buckbury. After her father's unexpected death, Eugenia has to leave Paragon, the family's beautiful and much loved cottage on the estate. She and her mother now live uncomfortably with her great-aunt Cloris in London as they could not afford anywhere else. Mrs Dovedale hopes her daughter will make a good marriage to improve their position. She is thrilled when the marquis returns from France and begins to show interest in Eugenia. However, Eugenia is determined to marry for love and dreams of being swept off her feet. She resists the marquis and then a Russian painter named Gregor Brodosky comes to paint her great-aunt and Eugenia falls for him.