Alexandra's mother left her father for an Italian peer. Her father in his rage had the first marriage annuled. Therefore his two daughters by that marriage became bastards. On his death the two daughters discover this change to their life and find themselves penniless and needing to work. One daughter is an invalid so the other daughter Alex, must support them both and a nurse. She is a well read educated woman familiar with her father's library which has not fallen to her self centered distant cousin. Alex dons a disguise and takes up the job of his librarian. A visiting guest, The Honorable Peregrine Sullivan , sees the beautiful woman under the humpbacked older woman disguise.
He too has his secret. He and his two brothers must marry a fallen woman before they can inherit rich uncle Bradleys funds. His brothers have done so and it is all down to him.
These two eventually discover the other's secret and of course fall in love after a passionate tumble or two.
The ending left a string or two unanswered. Did she ever get back her father's two lone possessions the distant cousin stole? Did her sister find happeness as well? Perhaps another book will follow but it is unlikely. The will has been met, the brothers are all married and one assumes life goes on happily ever after.