London, 1853: Innkeeper's daughter Mina Scott will do anything to escape the drudgery of her life, for there's nothing more mundane than serving customers day after day. Every minute she can, she reads lovely stories and dreams of someday becoming a real lady—and catching the eye of William Barlow, a frequent guest at the inn.
William is a gentleman's son, a charming-but-penniless rogue. However, his bachelor uncle will soon name an heir—either William or his scheming cousin Percy. In an effort to secure the inheritance, William gives his uncle the impression he's married—a perfect plan until Uncle invites William to bring his wife for a visit.
William asks Mina to be his pretend bride, only until his uncle names an heir on Christmas Day. Mina is flattered and frusterated by the offer, for she wants a true relationship with William. Yet, she agrees... then wishes she hadn't. So does William. Deceiving the old man may mean that more than just money is lost.