Reluctantly, the Duke of Rockliffe is in the market for a wife. His requirements are simple; a lady who will occupy her position with well-bred grace and chaperone his sister, Nell – but who will not bore him to distraction. Whilst accompanying Nell to what he speedily comes to regard as the house-party from hell, he meets Adeline Kendrick - acid-tongued and by no means beautiful, yet somehow alluring. Worse still, her relatives are quite deplorable - from Cousin Diana, a spoiled and ill-natured beauty, to manipulative and sadistic Uncle Richard. As a prospective bride, therefore, Adeline is out of the question. Until, that is, a bizarre turn of events cause the Duke to do the unthinkable and make what the Polite World will call a mésalliance.