Twenty-two-year-old Margot Seaton meets Paul Rayburn at a party. He is six years older, funny, impulsive, and charming. She's immediately taken by his role-playing, his funny voices and accents, his whimsy. And in a spur-of-the-moment decision, agrees to marry him only days after they meet.
Ignoring the small voice in her head that urges caution, and ignoring all the good advice her parents ever gave her, she begins a life with a man she scarcely knows.
Initially, it's fun. But then Paul begins dictating the terms of her life, where she can and cannot go, what she should and shouldn't do. She must pay -- initially in small but upsetting ways -- for what she wants. But as time goes by, the payments evolve into ever worse acts of abuse.
Margot is being harmed, physically and emotionally, and she's too ashamed and too frightened to confide in her parents. So the assaults continue, growing worse with the passage of time. Until, finally, fearing for her life and with the support of her parents, Margot runs.
She finds work keeping house for Cameron Harley and his father Claude. It is a surprising and ill-kept sanctuary where Margot gradually rediscovers herself and her ability to trust others.