Oak Dorning is an artist determined to take his place among London's most successful portraitists. Town life is expensive, though, so a temporary post restoring a few old paintings for a ruralizing widow strikes Oak as a prudent detour on the way to his brilliant future.
Verity Channing was married to a renowned artist, and knows firsthand how spiteful London sophisticates can be. A quiet life in the country is fine with her—also lonely and rather dull—until Oak finds scandalous treasures lurking in her art collection. When somebody sets out to ruin Verity, Oak must choose between his cherished ambitions and the lady who fills his dreams.