England, 1903. Giles, the new Earl of Stainton, is struggling to bring his family's estate back to order after the death of his father, and he has little time for his pregnant wife Kitty. She lives in fear of her mother-in-law, who won't give up the reins of the household. Will she ever truly be mistress of Ashmore Castle? Meanwhile, the Earl's younger sisters are having their first taste of romance, but not necessarily with the right people. Richard is pursuing his forbidden relationship with Molly, while Nina makes a lively new friend who leads her straight into trouble and pushes her relationship with her husband to the limit. And below stairs, ambition, jealousy and revenge stalk the corridors, while a tragic suicide, a tender romance, and finally a mysterious disappearance challenge the castle's residents, both high and low.