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England, at the end of the 18th century: Lady Susan Vernon is a young widow whose beauty and powers of seduction greatly unsettle high society. Her reputation and finanicial situation deteriorate and she sets out to find wealthy husbands for herself and her adolescent daughter.
Supported in her intrigues by her best friend Alicia, an American in exile, Lady Susan Vernon must resort to boundless ingenuity and duplicity to achieve her ends, by managing two suitors: charming Reginald and Sir James Martin, a wealthy but prodigiously stupid aristocrat.