Paris, 1899. Emma Lacasse has been estranged from her older sister for nearly twenty years, since Caroline married a wealthy American and left France. So when Emma receives a request from Caroline to meet her, she is intrigued. Caroline invites Emma to visit her in New York, on one condition: Emma must tutor her shy, young niece, Isadora, and help her prepare for her society debut.
Caroline lives a life of unimaginable excess and opulence as one of New York's Gilded Age millionaires and Emma is soon immersed in a world of luxury beyond her wildest dreams - a far cry from her bohemian lifestyle as a harpist and writer with her lover, Claude, in Montmartre.
Emma hopes for an emotional reunion with her only family, but instead she finds herself in the vice-like grip of her charismatic and manipulative sister, who revels in the machinations of the ultra rich. As Emma begins to question her sister's true motives, a disaster strikes, and New York society is stripped bare - beneath the glittering exterior lies a seething nest of deceit, betrayal, moral corruption ... and perhaps even murder.