The Making of a Lady

Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Making of a Marchioness is being made into a film by ITV

ITV is to adapt a novel by much-loved author Frances Hodgson Burnett (pictured). While Burnett is best known for classics such as The Secret Garden and A Little Princess, the two-hour film The Making of a Lady will be based on The Making of a Marchioness, a tense romance set in the late Victorian era.

Well-born and pretty, Emily Fox-Seton dreams of marrying for love, despite being left penniless in snobbish Victorian society. While working as a lady’s maid for the acid-tongued Lady Maria Byrne, she meets Lord James Walderhurst, Lady Maria’s wealthy nephew.  When Walderhurst inadvertently causes Emily to lose her job, he tries to help her through a marriage of convenience, with the hope that one day the arrangement may lead to love. Emily reluctantly agrees and the couple moves to isolated Palstrey Manor, despite intense disapproval from Walderhurst’s family and hostile servants.
Emily’s only companions are Walderhurst’s nephew, Captain Alec Osborn, whom Walderhurst detests, and his wife Hester. It soon transpires that Osborn stands to inherit Walderhurst’s fortunes, unless the new couple produces an heir. Just as Emily and her new husband begin to develop an affection for each other, Walderhurst chooses to return to his regiment in India. Despite loyal butler Litton’s suspicions, Emily is grateful for the company of her two friends, but with the arrival of Hester’s mysterious servant Ameerah, little does she realise the danger that surrounds her.
Overshadowed by Burnett’s more popular works, The Making of a Lady, which begins filming on the 27 August, looks set to deliver a lesser-known tale of romance and suspense.
The Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett is published by Persephone Books Ltd.