Martha Leigh is a prim and freshly minted governess who has been hired by the remote and demanding Connan TreMellyn to care for his daughter Alvean. As the departure of the three prior governesses suggests, Alvean is a difficult charge, though understandably so since the recent death of her mother, Alice. As Martha tries to connect with Alvean, she researches the history of Mellyn, and discovers hidden family secrets that still haunt the present. Now familiar with Alvean, she feels herself falling for Connan. Though the desire between Martha and Connan grows, Alice's tragic death continues to haunt them both and endanger any future they may have.