Violette and Sydney’s marriage gets off to a rough start. Mark cleans up his image around town but his seductive ways finally catch up to him.
Sydney and Violette are a sparkling young couple. Refined and revered. They attend operas at the Metropolitan and throw lavish parties for their friends.
The elder Silver’s give Violette and Sydney their wedding gift, a townhouse just a block down from their own chateau on 5th Ave. Sam Rothman puts on a spectacular wedding. However the wedding night is a disaster.
Their attempt to consummate their love is awkward in every way. Sydney drowns his uncomfortableness in excessive drink as Violette reveals her naivety in the matters of sex. They stumble through the act in regrettable fashion.
Violette comes to hate even the idea of intercourse. Mostly because she knows Sydney loathes it. He makes up for his inadequacy with lavish attention, charm and money. Although she becomes aware of a demon lurking in Sydney, she does everything in her power to be a successful wife.
A breaking headline sends shockwaves through their social circles. A fellow aristocrat and investor, Riley Baker is accused of stabbing his wife to death over disputes rising from his extra-marital affairs. His trial dominates the news and serves as a warning to both Violette and Sydney of the darkness people are capable of.
In Elders Ohio, Mark makes an effort to clean up his image. He publicly denounces alcohol to win over the ladies of the WCTU and sponsors a bicycle race that pleases local families. At the urging of hopeful townsfolk, Mark courts Elsie Brown, the daughter of bank president Horace Brown. He somehow manages to ignore her imperfect skin and her empty cranium.
Colleen Dunn visits Mark to inform him that she’s pregnant. He is stunned and offers to help but Colleen wants more. Mark refuses her request for marriage, leaving her irate. Before storming out, she proclaims she never wants the child to know he was the father.
Violette befriends Amelia Sinclair, a worldly woman recently widowed and left a fortune. They lunch and shop and gossip - mostly about the Riley Baker murder case. Violette confides her growing issues with Sydney, who moves out of their bedroom. She struggles with her new timidity and inability to address his dark side. His late nights out and her dinners alone leave her wondering.
At a social gathering she makes a startling observation that comes with her sudden realization that Sydney and his cousin Richard Goldmark are more than just friends.