The beautiful Iona Langdale is walking in her favourite wood the day before her wedding, which is planned to be a huge Society event with marquees and fireworks and attended by her large family and all her smart friends from London.
She is musing dreamily about how happy she will be once she is married to her next door neighbour, John Moreton, whom she has known since childhood.
Beside a hut by a pool in the wood, she sees her fiancé's horse tied up to a post and can hear voices coming from inside.
She listens without really meaning to and it is John who is speaking to the Vicar's daughter, Mary.
He is telling her how much he loves her, but he has to go through with marrying Iona because he needs her money to repair his house and pay off his father's debts and Iona is a millionairess.
Iona is deeply shocked and disillusioned and, despite her wedding happening tomorrow, she decides to run away as she cannot marry John after hearing that he is so desperately in love with Mary.
She sets off not knowing where she should go and after a number of adventures she unexpectedly becomes the cook at the magnificent house of the Earl of Woodbridge.
The few servants in his house are frightened of him because of his bad temper which is caused by the fact that he has spent several years looking for his family's treasure hidden by his miserly uncle before he died, but to no avail.
The Earl has spent all his money in searching for the elusive treasure and now he cannot even afford to pay his servants.
How Iona cooks superb dishes for the Earl, how she saves his life and how she finds the real love she is seeking is all told in this fascinating story by BARBARA CARTLAND.