Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. She's more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than learning proper manners, and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Desperate for Sophronia to become a proper lady, her mother enrolls her in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine's, young ladies learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage — in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year's education.