Penniless, and escaping the horrors of life as a governess to brutal households, Maud seeks refuge with the cousin-by-marriage she never knew. But her efforts to please Juliana are met with increasing levels of contempt as it becomes apparent that Juliana is jealous of Maud's youth and beauty. Further, Juliana quashes Maud's emerging friendships with the staff and locals - especially John, the artist commissioned to restore the sinister Doom in the local church. John, however, is smitten with Maud and makes every effort to woo her.
Maud, isolated and thwarted at every turn, continues to take the laudanum which was her only solace in London (and which was commonplace in Victorian London). Soon she becomes dependent on the drug - so is this the cause of her fresh anxieties? Or is someone - or something - plotting her demise? Is the devil in the corner of the Doom a reality, or a figment of her imagination? And what is its power?
Will Maud ever learn the truth of her inheritance and be free? Will she lose John for ever?