As heiress of Rosings Park, Anne de Bourgh's health is of utmost importance to her mother, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Thus, following the shock of a recent fire at Rosings Park, the young woman is spirited away to Brighton to take the cure. While her domineering mother is bent on healing her daughter's sickly constitution to secure her a suitable match, Anne herself is far more concerned with sketching the flora and fauna of the lovely sea town. It is in pursuit of artistic inspiration among the flowers that Anne becomes acquainted with Mr. Owen Talbot, a charming man with whom Anne feels an immediate connection, notwithstanding their differing stations. But despite their growing esteem for one another, the couple faces an insurmountable problem: Lady Catherine has set her sights on a rich, well-connected man for her daughter, and Mr. Talbot is simply too common. With their love in jeopardy, the couple soon faces far graver problems. There has been a murderin Brighton, and Anne is innocently drawn into an amateur investigation that ultimately traces its roots to her own family. With a frightening foreshadowing regarding the de Bourghs, Anne begins to question whom she can truly trust.