Vampires are a selfish bunch, preying on innocent souls to perpetuate their existence. Fallacious Rose, however, has created a different prototype in Lady Charlotte’s Dilemma: once preyed upon, how can a virtuous young woman stop herself from continuing the vicious circle?
In the midst of her second London social season, Lady Charlotte Chalmers is chafing under her mother’s eagerness to marry her off, preferring her country home and pursuits to city bustle. She’s also embarrassed by her vapid mother, Viscountess Letitia, and her quest for a second husband, given that her father has only been dead a year. That aspiration, and her unrelenting self-centeredness, pushes the Viscountess to allow Charlotte to interact with a socially inferior woman, Bess — a vampire who’s targeted Charlotte for her next feeding.
Sickened and initially amnesiac, Charlotte returns home to recover from the “less than healthful humours of the London climate,” where she eventually returns to normal — except she no longer desires food and finds every sense heightened to painful extremes. Not until a stroll in the woods with her friend, Vicar Oswald Fairweather, does Charlotte shockingly understand that, not only has she become a vampire, but also initiated another.
Determined not to spread the curse, Charlotte and Oswald unsuccessfully attempt various comical measures of feeding. In a moment of despair, she confides in her eccentric Aunt Augusta who, far from being shocked by her niece’s condition, produces a solution handed down from Charlotte’s late father.
Before she can put the solution to work, however, she’s invited by Viscountess Letitia’s suitor, the Duke of Dunroth – better known as the Bad Duke — to attend a Black Mass, at which victims willingly present themselves for draining. What happens at the ceremony is beyond any attendant’s comprehension, as Charlotte finally glimpses her inheritance, far more complicated than any she might have imagined.