Amelie Aston is an orphan. When eight she was adopted by the Reverend Thacker and brought up by him and his wife in a Somerset village. She led a sheltered life, though as she matures she is subjected to the unwelcome attentions of his sons. Thacker, too, lusts after her, relieving his frustration by administering correction, using his whip and cane. Now eighteen, Amelie is a lovely young woman with chestnut hair and green eyes, and obsessed by his guilt, Thacker finds her a position as companion to Lord Mervin Bessborough's sickly sister, Millicent. There is nothing physically wrong with Millicent, her ailments down to sexual frustration; she is a virgin, repressed and miserable, dominated by her brother. In this tense household Amelie finds danger, pursued by Marvin, who introduces her to his profligate cronies and forces her to perform lewd acts with them. He uses and abuses her, introducing her to pain and pleasure, beating her whenever he likes. Can Amelie at last escape Mervin's tyranny? Does she really want to? Or are her darkest desires satisfied when she submits to his mastery?