London, 1868. Claudine Burroughs dreads the holiday season for forcing her to face how empty her life has become. She no longer expects closeness with her coldly ambitious husband, and she has nothing in common with their circle of wealthy, status-minded friends. Then, at a glittering yuletide gala, she meets the charming poet Dai Treggaron and finds her spirits lifted. But scarcely an hour later, the charismatic Dai is enmeshed in a nightmare -- accused of killing a young streetwalker who had been smuggled into the party. Even though she suspects that an upper-class clique is quickly closing ranks to protect the real killer, Claudine vows to do her utmost for Dai.