The plot of Diana Tempest depends on the actions of our heroine’s weak, selfish, and amoral father, Colonel Tempest. He runs off with his older brother’s young and foolish fiancée, only to tire of her after a few years. When Diana’s mother dies shortly after her birth, he hands his daughter over to her grandmother, as he is only interested in his son, Archie.
The novel begins a few years later with Colonel Tempest rushing to the side of his dying older brother, hoping to reconcile. But his brother is so full of hatred that he formally recognizes his wife’s son John as his heir, even though he knows John is the issue of an affair between his wife and her cousin.
When John is a young man, Colonel Tempest drunkenly makes a bet that has major ramifications for his family. Even though he repents, he is unable to get out of the wager.
As a young woman, Diana and her grandmother manage to get by but have no extra resources. When Diana meets John, he falls in love with her, but she does not realize this and thinks they are friends. Later she understands she loves him, but it is after he makes a fateful discovery.
This novel fits very well into the sensationalist genre Cholmondely is known for. Its heroine and hero are likable, and it was enjoyable to read.