"It is a truth universally accepted that well-bred members of Society are not beleaguered with magic. For Elsabeth Dover and her sisters, that truth means living in a perpetual state of caution, never using their sorcerous gifts in public. Elsabeth chafes under the stricture, but not enough to risk the possibility of good marriages for her sisters...until she meets handsome, arrogant Fitzgerald Archer. Elsabeth, attracted to Archer's wit and offended by his manner, strives to keep her youngest, impetuous sister's use of magic in check so that their eldest sister, Rosamund, might find happiness with Archer's wealthy friend Mr Webber. But when Elsa fails to keep young Leopoldina in line, Archer's disapproval of the family taint means an abrupt end to Rosamund's hopes, and leads to a terrible discovery about the price of magic...."