Beatrice Collingwood is a quiet, unassuming girl living in the charming countryside town of Morromere. Both she and her mother, Anne, love fairytales, and she has grown up reading and loving them. Beatrice finds magic in everything around her, especially in the form a sparkling golden light that seems to follow her around. Her father is a practical man, but he loves his family and keeps them well. His death marks the beginning of a vast change to Beatrice’s world. Anne grows ill, and much of the care-taking of both the house and her mother is left to Beatrice. She manages to pull them through the hard autumn and winter, but a strange man, Warren, begins to lurk around the house. Beatrice finds him visiting the house while she is away at school, charming her mother, but she continues not to trust him. Her mistrust turns out to be well-placed. After Anne and Warren marry, Anne’s illness grows worse as she falls pregnant, and Warren’s cruelty increases untempered. Anne dies giving birth to Percy, Beatrice’s half-brother, but Warren seems cold and uncaring. He sends Beatrice away to his ancestral home, Rasden Hall, in the cold, northern town of Colmouth. Beatrice finds Colmouth initially as harsh and hostile as Warren himself. Upon arriving at the house and finding nothing there with which to survive, she realises Warren sent her there to die. Furthermore, the house seems to be haunted by invisible spirits that scream, wail, taunt, and terrify. She is faced with the decision to either submit to despair, or find out the secrets the house and the town are hiding.