Beautiful young Aspasia Stanton and her twin brother Jerry are horrified when they receive a letter addressed to their uncle and guardian, the much-loved Reverend Theophilus Stanton from Her Grace the Duchess of Grimstone. In it she coldly announces that that having "reached the age of sixty-five, you are retired from your living and you will vacate the Vicarage within a month of this date". Whatever are they do do? Without the Reverend's stipend they have nothing at all to live on ? And what of Little Medlock's parishioners, who love their Vicar so dearly? Although the Duchess is notoriously a completely ruthless woman without a heart, Aspasia resolves to go to visit her and throw herself on her mercy, saying "I will do ? anything you ask of me if Uncle Theophilus may remain at Little Medlock." The poor innocent has no grasp of the evil that goes on behind Grimstone's doors or of the terrible things that the wicked Duchess will demand of her. But the Fate sends the imperious, yet handsome, Marquis of Thame to visit the Duchess ? a gentleman unimpressed and undaunted by her disreputable and wicked ways. But will he step in to save Aspasia from humiliation and dishonour?