Grace Banbury's life hasn't exactly been normal for a young lady. She's 24 and unmarried, rejected by a man she loved.
Now it seems that her mother, an inveterate gambler, has lost their two houses. Grace's mother has disappeared, and when Grace discovers the house has been lost to Mr. Daniel Throckmorten, she is horrified to discover he has also won the right to marry her.
Fortunately for Grace, Throckmorten doesn't want to marry her - or anyone else, for that matter. However, he does want a new mistress, and eventually they find themselves in a wager: if he can tempt her to be his mistress within two weeks, he wins.
If she holds out against his seductive charm, she will be allowed to have a family heirloom, a special violin.
So the story continues in what seems like an oft-trod direction. Man tries to seduce woman, woman is very tempted but tries to resist. Grace decides to try to redeem Daniel, whose family have been scandalous in the past, Grace's gambling-addicted brother appears from time to time, there's another minor plot about someone who wants to marry Grace, but most of the attention is on Daniel and Grace.
The story feels lightweight most of the time, with Grace able to behave in a most unlikely manner in a world when women were closely chaperoned. We see the story through both Grace's and Daniel's eyes, and there are few surprises along the way. It's a reasonable enough read but doesn't stand out in any way.
Toward the end, the story drags a little too much for this reader.