Early evening, 1804: Anne Sharpe arrives at Godmersham Park in Kent. Alone and desperately in need of an independent income, she is to become a governess to twelve-year-old Fanny Austen. But her new role in this large household where she is neither a servant nor a member of the family is an awkward one, and Anne is keenly aware that one wrong move may result in her instant dismissal.
Then dashing Henry Austen and his younger sister Jane come to stay. Both take an immediate interest in the pretty, clever governess, and Anne quickly becomes drawn into the above-stairs life of the Austen family. Soon, and despite her best efforts, she finds she is falling in love.
But has her survival at Godmersham Park just become a good deal more precarious?