Poppy Cavendish, a teenage orphan, is one of only a few girls made to stay at Maidenhall School during the holidays. Caught in a shameful act by a teacher who favours harsh discipline, she is surprised when her punishment spills over into unnatural love. The Headmistress and her depraved Chairman of Governors find out about this, though, and chastise her with lustful zeal. Forced into a job by them, Poppy finds herself in the clutches of a dominant couple whose hands-on training pushes her deeper into submission. Her duties include carnal acts that no decent girl should perform, but her personal drive for compliance takes her through the pain barrier and into a world of sexual intrigue. For example, what is the role of the mysterious stranger who has arranged an unwanted marriage in the Sudan for Poppy? The answer lies with the riddle of her birth, in the enclosing walls of Maidenhall School.