Amateur art collector Mary Brandegee rivals Isabella Stuart Gardner and Henry Frick in Edwardian New England.As a young girl, Mary Pratt inherits a large fortune and so does her cousin and best friend Isabel Perkins. Stalked by the infamous gossip-monger Colonel Mann, their family summers in Prides Crossing. Both girls make promising marriages, but after building a fine estate in Boston, Mary's husband Charles Sprague descends into madness.She makes a good second marriage with Edward Brandegee. They travel in Europe and collect art pieces based on Mary's intuition. She knows little about their provenance, and keeps a bathtub full of left-over statue heads in her basement. Her pride is humbled in a chance encounter with Belle Gardner. To the envy of her rivals, the pieces that are meaningful to Mary turn out to be world treasures.