Elinor Denistoun is engaged to Phil Compton, and madly in love, and ignores altogether the many warnings she receives about how disreputable the young man is. When her cousin John tells her he is known as "the dis-Honourable Phil", she still refuses to believe anything bad of him. And even when Phil manipulates the calendar to convince her that he arrived at her mother's cottage a day before he actually did, she is not suspicious.
Elinor likes Phil's "fast" set, and seems to look the other way when Phil treats her mother badly - such as when they use her mother to obtain a house in London for the season. But the time will come when Phil treats Elinor badly too. This psychological novel follows Elinor's marriage through many phases, often from the point of view of her mother or cousin John.