When the Earl of Falloden and Eleanor Transome meet, it is hate at first sight. For the earl is being forced by penury into marriage with this coal merchant's daughter, and Eleanor is being forced by her love for her dying father. The marriage begins with all the passion of intense dislike. But when Eleanor plots revenge by inviting all her loud and vulgar relatives to their home for Christmas, she has really plotted her own salvation and her husband's. For Christmas and the merry Transomes weave an irresistible spell about the unhappy couple.