In London in the months leading up to the start of World War One, Pearl Gibson is a young woman with ambition--ambition to be a lady's maid, the most genteel occupation available to a young woman of her background. Her great-aunt Kitty taught her everything she could, and told her that it took "a very superior sort of girl" to be a lady's maid, and after years of work, moving repeatedly to advance herself, Pearl is interviewing with Lady Ottoline Campbell, who is looking for a new lady's maid.
It's the start of a new life for Pearl, and she has no idea just how much change this position, this particular lady, and the war will bring into her life. We see the strains and cracks already appearing in the old class system, and the hard rock it runs into with the war and all its death and destruction. But this is also a deeply romantic story. Pearl works out an unexpected friendship with Lady Ottoline, uncovers secrets of her own past, and finds love someplace wholly unexpected.