The novel starts off with Annie Lockwood going out to meet her boyfriend Sean, whom she wants to change into a romanticist like herself by the end of the summer. Sean's nickname for Annie is ASL, based on her full name Anna Sophia Lockwood, and is an avid mechanic with his hobby being maintenance of mechanical objects such as cars. It is during the summer that Annie meets her boyfriend Sean at Stratton Point, which is being prepared for the demolition of the Stratton Mansion. Upset by the fate of the mansion, Annie explores its rooms one last time, but as she walks through the halls and rooms she feels a sudden grip on her ankles and finds herself back in time in 1895.
There she stumbles into Hiram Stratton Junior, commonly referred to as Strat, who is shocked by Annie's appearance as she is wearing a dress with no stockings on and so her legs are bare. The two immediately fall in love and Annie, stuck in 1895, is taken to live in the Stratton Mansion where she meets his father, stepmother and sister Devonny as well as Harriett, a rich but plain women who is secretly in love with Strat.
The novel carries on in the eyes of multiple characters and how their lives have been changed with the appearance of Annie Lockwood in the 19th century and the disappearance of her in the 20th century. The main characters affected are Strat and Harriet, one of whom is in love with her and the other who is jealous. Annie Lockwood is infatuated by this century she has fallen back on, but all is not well when the murder of Mathew, a servant at the mansion, is discovered. It discovered later on, however, that Mathew's death had been a cruel response to his overhearing Clarence Rowwel’s, a friend of Hiram Stratton, and Harriett’s chaperone Aunt Ada’s devious plan to seize Harriett’s money through marriage.
This plan is unconsciously assisted by Annie Lockwood who distracts Strat from Harriet’s affections resulting in her agreeing to marry the odious Clarence. However justice is served when the mystery is slowly unraveled and ends with Florinda Stratton, the wife of Hiram Stratton, shooting Rowwel in a tower where he led Harriett with the intent of pushing her off of it, and displaying it as a suicide. The book ends when fate decides to take Annie Lockwood away from 1895 and Strat, back to what is possibly her own time as the book does not confirm where exactly she has been taken to.