Olivia Coulson is pretty and determined enough to attract any man's eye. George Chilton-Brookes, heir to the Cropton estate, is visibly enchanted by her, while handsome gentleman farmer Kit Fernley is also drawn to her looks and vivacity. Olivia wavers between her two suitors, eventually inclining towards the wealth and social position that marriage to George will bring - only to find that he has turned his attention elsewhere. So she marries Kit: handsome, attentive, loving... and in her eyes, second best. Unable to forgive her fickle lover for his rejection of her, Olivia sets out to make George sorry he ever slighted her; becoming so intent on settling old scores that she is barely aware of the deadly danger her husband faces. Challenged by his father to undertake a long and perilous sea journey to the Arctic wastes, Kit accepts, comforted by thoughts of his wife awaiting his return and oblivious of the lengths to which Olivia will go to achieve her revenge.