The Marquis of Alverstoke doesn't put himself out for anyone, and suffers from frequent boredom. His sister wishes him to host a ball for the coming out of her daughter but he refuses.... Until, a distant relation, Frederica Merrivale, herself on the shelf at the advanced age of twenty-four, arrives with her stunningly beautiful sister, Charis, not to mention a few spirited younger brothers in tow. The Marquis tells his sister that he has reconsidered and will host the ball, looking forward to his sister's reaction when her plain daughter is set against the lovely Charis. Unlike all the Marquis's other relations, Frederica doesn't want anything for herself, she just feels strongly responsible for her sister and brothers. She is not beautiful, but she has wit and common sense. Her brothers, especially the irrepressible Felix soon draw the Marquis into their scrapes. The outcome is predictable but getting there was entertaining reading.