The story focuses on Judith Dunbar, who is enrolled in St. Ursula's, an English boarding school, when her parents and younger sister move to colonial Singapore. She is introduced to a world of wealth and privilege by her classmate, Loveday Carey-Lewis, whose family owns the magnificent Cornwall estate known as Nancherrow. Although Judith enjoys the company of her doting Aunt Louise, who has been named her legal guardian during her parents' absence, she prefers to spend as much of her school holidays as possible with Loveday's parents and siblings, who welcome her as one of their own. When Aunt Louise is killed in an automobile accident, she leaves her considerable estate to Judith, who will be independently wealthy for life if she handles her inheritance wisely. Judith becomes increasingly attracted to Loveday's older brother Edward and eventually succumbs to his gentle seduction. When she realizes she was foolishly naive to think he was committed to a permanent relationship, she ...