The Poor Relation Hotel is the rage of London, but its French chef's extravagance and Society guests' unpaid bills have reduced its owners once again to genteel thievery.
Cut off by her own relations, pretty, dainty widow Eliza Budley must visit some other family manor to purloin expensive baubles. Happily, the rich Marquess of Peterhouse is in his dotage and wouldn't know a relative from a bedpost. So Eliza is sent to play the impostor.
But, greeted by the new Marquess--wickedly handsome, with all his wits about him--Eliza confesses the poor relations' bluff. The young heir, vastly taken with this daring lady, is quite decided to get himself leg-shackled now, and escape all the matchmakers. Yet a marchioness from the world of trade is not at all the thing! But at the grandest ball of the season-catered by the Poor Relation-one indiscreet kiss sets the dashing marquess and the winsome widow on a choppy course between the conspiracies of the ton and the meddlesome poor relations.