What if a work of fiction wasn't fiction at all? What if we only thought it was fiction because it was written down, and we were separated from it by the page? Isabel Darrow, troubled by her past and feeling disconnected from the world, likes her doctor's suggestion that the world of fiction might become reality. She likes the idea of waking up in the middle of her favourite book with the handsome, brooding Mr Thornton glaring at people in his mill yard, but she doesn't worry about the foul air of dirty, smoky Milton, because it's not real, and it was written over 160 years ago. But then she takes a trip to Oxford, and gets waylaid along the way, finding herself greeted at a smoky train station, by a man called Mr Hale, who claims to be her godfather. When Isabel meets Margaret and first sees Mr Thornton, she's determined to help the course of love run a little more smoothly for the two stubborn lovers. But Gaskell hadn't accounted for a second young lady in the Crampton house, and whilst Isabel tries to adapt to a life where women have no independence or equality, Milton must adapt to her. The question is, will Mr Thornton adapt to her, or Margaret, first?