The streets of eighteenth-century Edinburgh, where disease and squalor jostle with high culture and grand ambitions, are the setting for Jessica Stirling's powerful new novel.On the brink of a disastrous marriage Nicola Templeton finally rebels, and flees to Edinburgh to seek refuge with her sister. Charlotte's own runaway marriage has already turned their father into an implacable foe and it seems that Nicola too may be cut off from her share of the Craigiehall estate if she does not bow to his will.The bustling Georgian city, a hotbed of intrigue and corruption, draws Nicola swiftly into its web. She is courted by Grant's dashing young brother, Gillon, fresh home from fighting in the American wars. Innocent country girl or not, she is not dazzled by Gillon's wit or deceived by his promises, for Gillon is penniless, if no less ambitious than his brother.Meanwhile, though, incensed by his daughters' ingratitude, Lord Craigiehall has plans of his own for the future of the Ayrshire estates. Plans that involve him with the notorious society hostess, Lady Valerie Oliphant, and a pretty little actress from London whose wiles are more than equal to his own.