Aphra Coleman's actor-father Charles does his 1902 best to keep his Thespian Players from performing at the grand mansion in Kent, Abbotsford. Aphra can't understand his reluctance, especially after she meets the young head of the household, David Hillyard, who's so anxious to have them come--and to whom she's so strongly attracted. Even Charles Coleman's sudden death after the performance doesn't give Aphra pause; she gratefully marries David without waiting the requisite year's mourning, despite the opposition of his sister Claudia and the ominous ravings of his nut-case cousin Harriet. Soon her fine young husband, so passionate at first, seems to be trying to drive Aphra mad. Or is it that he wants to kill her? His fondness for tormenting caterpillars, his researches into obscure poisons, his obsession with the savage eagle he keeps as a pet--and looses upon shrinking animals and wives--are evidence of psychopathological propensities. What does he have against Aphra--is it merely her helplessness, or something about her ancestry? Where is she to turn? Only the local smith, Red Deacon, is a tower of strength. But though his muscles glisten at the forge, he cannot save her from the horrors of her marriage bed. A grabbingly scary Gaslight-goes-to-the-country.