Thea, the eldest daughter of Viscount Gilbert Fenton, flouts the unwritten rules of her class by embarking on a love affair with Hal, the fiercely socialist son of one of her father's tenant farmers. Carrie, her close childhood friend and granddaughter of the Viscount's nanny, has always been expected to marry Hal, but when she goes into service she finds herself longing for the one person she can never hope to marry. Olivia, the middle Fenton sister, follows a more conventional path, forging friendships with the British royal family and attending a finishing school in Germany. Her relationship with Count von der Schulenburg does not raise eyebrows, but as the mid-1930s approach, she finds herself in a country experiencing rapid, radical and dangerous social change. Violet, the youngest of the Fenton sisters, is also the most reckless. She dreams of becoming an actress in Hollywood, unaware her life will be filled with more drama than any part she will ever play. And then there is Rozalind, their American cousin, who is secretly in love with a married US senator. Her ambitions to become a photojournalist will also take her into the heart of Hitler's Germany.