Archie and Rupert search the Thames River for dead bodies they can pillage. They find a woman in a nice silk dress and a necklace that has the crescent eye. She also holds a slip of paper that says “The Tree of All Souls lives.” They take her four coins and shove her back in the river.
Gemma and the other girls her age are learning how to curtsey. They have backboards and book on their heads. The girls keep getting distracted by the construction above them; the repairs of the east wing. The class goes outside to sketch the rebuilding of the east wing. Naturally, the school girls want to check out the workers, especially since they’ve been told not to. Eventually, they get close enough to the building for the foreman to offer them a look in the rubble for souvenirs. Mrs. Nightwing is in a hurry to finish the wing and talks with the foreman. Felicity insists that they try to get to the realms that night, though they haven’t been able to since Gemma bound the magic to herself. Gemma wonders if this is punishment.
Ann returns from a visit with her cousins who she will become a governess for in a few months. Felicity goes on and on about teas and balls while they are in her tent in the great hall. Cecily, Elizabeth, and Marsha join in the tent and immediately start tormenting Ann. She leaves. The girls then target Gemma, making comments about her father. She goes after Ann, but is unable to cheer her up. She cuts herself accidently on a pillar containing magical creatures.
The girls meet in the great hall for another attempt at entering the realms. Gemma still cannot create the door. She sees Circe’s face every time she gets close. She is starting to think that she has lost the magic and therefore, she is nothing.
Gemma meets her brother, Tom, to visit their father. The entire ordeal is awkward. Their father doesn’t think Tom should be dreaming about a prestigious gentlemen’s club, but should stick with the one that centers around science and medicine. Tom confides in that Simon has invited him to the Athenaeum Club and thinks his father will recommend Tom. He also mentions that the Hippocrates Society might start admitting women. Gemma likes this idea, but Tom does not.
As soon as Gemma arrives in London, She is forced to go to a tea with her grandmother. Eventually, the younger girls in attendance are allowed to wander off. They gossip about how Lady Markham no longer wants to sponsor Felicity for her debut. If Felicity does not debut, she will loose her inheritance. Later, Gemma dreams about Circe, bound but still alive, telling her that she needs to find the secret door into the realms. The next day, Gemma finds out that Simon was admitted to the Athenaeum club rather than Tom.
Gemma returns to Spence and tries to tactfully warn Felicity of the rumors. Felicity gets mad and storms off. Ann is pulling away from them because she knows they will be separated soon. Mrs. Nightwing announces that Miss McCleethy will be returning to the school in a permanent position. Also, tea for the graduates will be replaced with a ball. The gypsies seek work, but Mrs. Nightwing sends them away. However, this does give Gemma an opportunity to ask about Kartik, but they haven’t seen him. The workers find an ancient piece of stone wall while digging. No one can move the stone. Gemma is drawn to it.
Felicity is still mad, so Gemma goes to the kitchen. Brigid is putting stuff around for protection (crucifix, bowl of milk, etc). She tells Gemma that the east wing has always seemed wrong and they should not put it back together. Gemma reads her mother’s diary again. When she falls asleep, she dreams of a girl in lavender running. She eventually reaches the east wing of Spence where the workers have found something in the ground and offer for her to open it. Gemma wakes up and goes to the stone wall ruin. She presses her hand to it and looks to the side. She sees the outline of a door. She retrieves Felicity and Ann and they enter together. After going down a dark tunnel, they go through another door and have entered the realms.
The girls follow a path to the garden. Felicity and Ann are unable to perform magic. Gemma hesitates (afraid of loosing any magic) before giving them some (because she thinks she is the temple now). The gorgon appears and offers to take Gemma to Philon to fulfill her promise to share the magic. When Gemma asks for more time, the gorgon warns that a balance must be maintained. Gemma and the magic could change each other. Gemma promises to go on their next trip to the realms. While discussing their deepest wishes, Felicity heads of to look for Pippa. The others follow. They find a dead looking spot of forest and revive it. They celebrate their accomplishment and then Gemma sees a brief storm in the distance. They go in that direction until they come to a wall of brambles. While searching for a way through, Gemma pricks her finger and the brambles open. They see a land bathed in blue like a winter duck and the quietness of the first snow. Gemma stops Felicity from charging in too far, reminding her of the Poppy Warriors. Pippa appears to them, looking very dead.
Pippa is happy to see her friends and Felicity and Ann return the sentiment. Pippa introduces them to her new friends, some of the girls from the factory fire. Pippa takes them to their ruined castle which is being swallowed by the earth each day. Pippa wonders if she made the right choice by eating the berries rather tan marrying Mr. Bumble. Ann takes a joke too far and Pippa runs off crying. Pippa asks for Gemma and they talk alone. Pippa convinces Gemma to come back alone to help her cross over, promising the Felicity will never know that Gemma helped.
The next morning, Gemma has trouble getting out of bed. She uses her magic to gift Ann with beauty. The girls are to ride bikes brought to the school by Inspector Kent, Mademoiselle LaFarge’s fiancé. Felicity sees her friends and asks if they have any magic. Gemma says that he will gift Felicity as she did Ann earlier. Felicity has ridden before and controls the bicycle with ease. She helps Gemma who eventually uses magic to control the bike. She runs into Kartik who tells her that they need to go their separate ways. Gemma uses the excuse of the fall from her bike to hide away. Instead of going to Brigid for bandages, she goes to the boathouse, helping Mother Elena search for her daughter Carolina (whom Gemma’s mom murdered). When alone, Gemma goes into the boathouse and has a vision. The woman in lavender is writing, there is an illusionist and the woman fished from a river with a message. Gemma emerges from the boathouse and Elena starts following her back to the school. She sees the construction on the east wing and says that they must not continue. She tries to tell the workmen that it is a curse, but they won’t listen. Eventually the other Gypsies (including Kartik) come to take her away.
Gemma tells the girls about her vision. The magician’s assistant is a medium and the message she wrote said “We are betrayed. She is a deceiver. The Tree of All Souls lives. The key holds the truth,” and then the woman drowns in the Thames River. Felicity asks to return to the realms, but Gemma refuses, angering her friends. The Gypsies come to offer them protection, but Mrs. Nightwing sends them away. Kartik stays.
Gemma meets with Pippa and takes her to the river to cross. Pippa is unable to and the gorgon explains that she waited too long after eating the barriers. Pippa is inconsolable so Gemma offers her magic to ease the pain. The gorgon advises against it and Gemma snaps at her. Gemma returns to Pippa and gives her some magic. Pippa returns to herself to her former glory and tells Gemma that she (Gemma) is destined for greatness.
Gemma and Pippa agree that they will tell the others that Pippa’s restoration is a miracle rather than Gemma’s doing. She goes to the Caves of Sigh. Asha asks if she is going to return the magic to the Temple, but she says no. She came to put something to rest. She walks through the wall of water and looks into the well of eternity. Circe is still alive (but she says she will die when Gemma returns the magic) and warns Gemma that the Order plans to take control of the realms from her. Circe offers to teach Gemma how to control the magic in return for a taste of it before she dies. Gemma refuses and leaves. Back in the caves, Gemma sees a symbol of two joined hands in a circle. Asha explains that the Order and the Rakshana would walk each other’s dreams to see if they were destined to be lovers. Gemma promises to form alliances and bind the magic after dealing with matters in her own world. Gemma starts her return and hears horses behind her. She runs to the door and makes it through. Back in her world, the magic is overwhelming. When she touches the east wing, she sees things flash before her eyes.
The next day, the class goes on a field trip to a village with a fair. Gemma, Felicity, and Ann sit on the bank of a river. They joke about men rowing a boat and Felicity calls out to them. She tells the fattest and ugliest one that Gemma is interested. Gemma gives him Felicity’s name before they run off. Gemma spots Kartik and sneaks off to talk to him. He is leaving to become a sailor as he no longer believes in destiny. He gives Gemma half of the red bandana that they used to use when they needed to communicate with on another. Back at the school, the stone has broken in half. Gemma wonders if this will affect the secret door. Mother Elena warns them again Mr. Miller and his workers start to remove it.
Gemma tries to enter the realms with Felicity and Ann, but finds that she must still use the secret door. They visit Pippa, who gets Gemma alone and guilts her into giving her dead friend more magic. The other dead girls want some too and eventually, Gemma gives in. The little girl, Wendy, refuses the magic. Gemma talks to Wendy and eventually gives her a little bit of magic, which they find cannot bring back her eyesight. They go outside, catch a rabbit, and name it. On their way back to their world, the girls are cut off by a group of centaurs lead by Creostus. They’ve come to discuss the alliance and the gorgon arrives to take them to Philon. ON the way, they meet a shape shifter, Neela, who takes Gemma’s then Felicity’s forms. Philon explains that they used that power to lure mortals to the realms. Gemma asks for more time to understand the magic and her role in it and offers to gift them for now. Philon refuses and gives her the time extension. On their way back to the gorgon, Neela appears as Gemma’s mom. Gemma is so outraged that when Felicity touches her, the magic shoots into Felicity. They return to their world and Gemma sees a figure in the dark. It slips away before she can get a good look.
The girls are gathered early in the morning because someone has vandalized the east wing stones with blood. No one gives up any information, so they are all forced to scrub it clean. While the girls contemplate the symbolism of the blood, Ann suggests that it might be for protection. The other girls pick on her and she doesn’t stick up for herself, just mumbles “you’ll be sorry,” under her breath. Cecily makes her repeat it out lout. That night, Gemma has a nightmare about a Winterland tracker coming for the woman in lavender while she tries to show Gemma a book that contains a map.
Gemma and Ann use magic to turn Ann into Nan Washbrad. Cecily comes by to show off a necklace her mother sent. Ann convinces her to give her the necklace by telling her the pearls are fake. On the ride to London, Ann gives the necklace to Mademoiselle LaFarge. Gemma donates to some girls striking due to a factory fire. Felicity is angered by her mother’s simple and childish ways.
They watch the show and afterwards are able to sneak backstage to meet Lilly Trimble, the actress. She says that she will set up an audition for Nan. On their way to tea with Felicity’s mom, they run into ladies Denby and Markham. Gemma hears that lady Denby ants to ruin Felicity because of her mother. She plants love for Felicity into Lady Markham’s head. Gemma is handed a flyer for the Egyptian Hall and notices the name Theodore VanRipple, the illusionist.
Miss McCleethy returns to Spence to teach again. She asks Gemma to join with the Order but that her friends might not be able not be chosen. She says that the Rakshana are out to kill her and only Miss McCleethy can protect her. Gemma tells her that the magic doesn’t stick and that she can’t enter the realms. She goes out into the woods to meet Kartik. He apologizes for his absence, but he must go because of a dream he had where Gemma dies. Gemma runs into Mother Elena, who has a bucket of blood. Gemma ignores her warnings.
For their last night at Spence until after Easter, the girls go to visit Pippa who is holding a party with the factory victims. Fairy like creatures come around because they can feel the magic in Gemma. Just as she is about to gift them, she hears a voice that makes her stop. The fairies are disappointed, but say that they can get magic from the Tree of All Souls. Gemma questions them and finds out it is in the Winterlands.
Before leaving, Gemma gifts Felicity and Ann. Gemma thinks that she sees a crow eaten by one of the gargoyles just before she faints. Felicity reassures her it was a hallucination. At her Grandmother’s house, Gemma is fed up with everyone’s dark moods and uses magic to make everyone happy.
Gemma walks through the park with a girl who cannot stop gossiping. She learns that Simon’s family isn’t so well financially and will probably marry his distant cousin Lucy Fairchild, a rich American. She asks Simon how to how to ensure that Felicity gets her debut, and he says to suck up to Lady Markham and her son. Felicity tries to comfort her cousin Polly about the admiral (Felicity’s father) being a child molester.
Gemma attends dinner at he Hippocrates Society with her family. Her father tells the tiger story: as a child, Gemma told a rouge tiger to pass freely if it meant them no harm, and it left them alone. Afterwards while waiting for the carriage, Fowlson appears and tells Gemma that he wants the magic. He also hints that he knows Kartik is alive.
Gemma goes out with her grandmother. The woman in lavender appears asking why Gemma is ignoring her, and then drags Gemma into the street to have a vision of the illusionist with Miss McCleethy. A carriage comes along and drives right through her before the vision ends. Her grandmother scolds her for a possible mark on the family reputation, and Gemma whisks it away with magic. Tom comes home drunk saying that he has found a new club. He passes out and Gemma sees the Rakshana pin. At the train station, Fowlson approaches Gemma again. She tells him to leave her brother alone, but has nothing to make a threat with. The magic has been becoming too much for her and she can hear everyone’s thoughts on the train. She has to use the magic to make herself hear nothing at all.
Upon returning to Spence, Gemma hangs the red bandana out her window. Kartik sees it, but still doesn’t come. Gemma tells the girls about her vision. She uses magic to convince Mademoiselle LaFarge to take them to the show the next night. Miss McCleethy says she will join them. Gemma is overwhelmed by the magic again and flies out her window. Eventually, she lands at the boathouse where Kartik is staying. She uses the magic again to make him think he is dreaming. He tells her that he is a danger to her. She makes him kiss her before she orders him to sleep. The next night, the girls go into the realms. Pippa shows them a maze that they start playing in. Gemma finds Felicity and Pippa making promises to find a way. She runs off and a fairy starts leading her deep into the darkness after she has been so overwhelmed with magic that she gifted it to the fairy. Creostus comes along and says that Philon needs to speak to her immediately.
Gemma meets with Philon, who is concerned that she is plotting again them with the Hajin. She gifts Philon a small amount of magic as a sign of good faith, lying about her control of the gifting. He knows that she is lying and warns her not to do it again. Creostus indicates that the gorgon betrayed her own people. Gemma asks her about her past, but she is more concerned with the future. Gemma asks about the Winterland, but the gorgon is not willing to give the little information she has. She just says to stay away from there. When the girls return to their own world, Gemma sees the fairy is also there with them.
The girls go to the show at the Egyptian Hall. Gemma risks using her magic to distract Miss McCleethy so that they can sneak away and talk with VanRipple. He tells them about his mute assistant that was a medium. She seemed to go crazy one day, saying that her sister betrayed them all. She would write secretively at night (he has no idea where the pages are). Inspector Kent comes along and identifies the magician as a thief. When Mademoiselle LeFarge mentions Spence, VanRipple goes pale. During the show Miss McCleethy sneaks off and Gemma follows her. Miss McCleethy has a conversation with someone who se life she had saved, but Gemma cannot figure out who. After the show, Gemma spots VanRipple picking pockets and uses that as leverage to find out his assistant’s name: Wilhelmina Wyatt. They go back to Spence and read the book on secret societies that Miss Wyatt wrote, searching for clues. They give up quickly going visit Pippa.
The class has a picnic in the graveyard. Miss McCleethy and Gemma debate about order and rebellion. The other girls are sent ahead and Gemma once again tells Miss McCleethy that the power has left her. The teacher states that the Order won’t share the magic before sending Gemma away. She joins the other girls who are watching the construction workers refuse to work because it doesn’t feel right. The Gypsies come along and offer to keep watch for the men while they sleep. A brawl starts between the men which Mrs. Nightwing has to come out and put at stop to. Gemma spots Kartik watching her. While mail is being handed out, Ann receives a letter from Lily Trimble. However, the letter is addressed to Nan, so she is unable to receive it. The girls sneak into Mrs. Nightwing’s office to get it and Gemma finds a letter from 1893 to Mrs. Nightwing, threatening to expose her. In church, Gemma has a vision where the stained glass gorgon head (held as an angel’s trophy) tells her to “beware the birth of May.” Gemma finds a letter from Tom with her grandmother’s letter (where she mentions that Simon has asked after her) telling her that his society is interested in her.
In the realms, Gemma goes to see Circe while the others play with Pippa. She exchanges a small bit of magic for the advice to search her dark corners. Asha tells her that the untouchables will not join her alliance. Gemma, on her trip to return to the others, hears horse hooves approaching. She turns herself into a tree to hide. Amar appears and can feel her power. He tells her to “beware the birth of May,” and rides off. Gemma returns to her friends
The class goes outside to pint decorative scenes for the masked ball. Kartik is hired to chop wood. Gemma explains that she needs to talk to him and they meet in the laundry room. Gemma says that she will tell him about her encounter with Amar if he helps her get a meeting with the Rakshana. Inspector Kent comes to the school to investigate because a third man has gone missing from Mr. Miller’s camp. Gemma gets bored with the other girls’ party in the ruined castle and goes to see the gorgon, who finally tells Gemma her story. Gorgon was unhappy that her people settle to comply with the Order, limiting their abilities. She turned them to stone and killed them all. The order punished her. The gorgon decides to go down the river further than she ever has before.
Ann attends her audition as Nan. She is hired and the contract signed. Now they must find a way to use the magic to convince the company that they hired Ann instead of Nan. Ann sends a letter to her relations, informing them of her decision.
Days pass and Gemma has a vision of Mina in school with Sarah and Mary. The girls return to the realms to search the Winterlands. Gemma sends Felicity and Ann to gather Pippa and the others while she talks to Circe. Gemma gives Circe more magic. Circe tells her to answer the questions honestly to enter the Winterland. She warns her not to use enchantments. She advises her not to make bargains. The girls gather and a fairy offer to lead the way. Gemma says that she will not pay her for it at all. Fairy still leads them. They find the gate and tell it their greatest fear to gain entry. Gemma says that her greatest fear is the Winterlands. They find a boat in a river that Circe told her to stick to. They end up going until the boat won’t go any further. They start going into a forest, but soon noticed bodies hanging from the trees. Gemma touches one and some magic escapes, awakening all of the bodies. They run out and a voice tells them to follow a dark tunnel. Gemma leads the way and when she emerges on the other side; they find the Tree of All Souls. They all touch it and Gemma is so overwhelmed that she falls. There is a blinding light and then Gemma is alone with Eugenia Spence.
Eugenia explains: there were some priestess girls that were sacrificed with a dagger that they had tried to offer for their freedom. One girl was hidden and watched everything happen. After the priestess were killed, making the Tree of All Souls, the hidden girl took the dagger and brought it back to the Order. Eugenia was the daggers last known guardian. Gemma thinks she saw it with Mina in a vision. Eugenia says the Order may be corrupted again and not to trust anyone, but to bring her the dagger. Eugenia leaves and the tree shows all of the girls their wishes. After some time, they grow cold and return to the Borderlands. Gorgon warns Gemma not to return to the Winterlands until the alliance is made. Gemma dismisses her warning and plays violently with her friends.
The girls prepare for the entertainment that they will perform at the ball. Ann is not allowed to sing because of her trickery over Christmas. Soon, Ann’s cousin comes to get her, as Ann asked her to in the letter she sent.
Gemma gets a little to competitive with Cecily while playing field hockey and is sent off the field to cool off. She goes inside and finds the book Mina wrote and starts noticing that the pictures have meaning. Miss McCleethy comes along to scold Gemma and ends up throwing the book into the oven, saying that Mina was a horrible person who told lies about the Order for money. Gemma and Felicity ask Brigid about Mina. They find out that Eugenia (Mina’s aunt) forbade her from being around Sarah Rees-Tome. She started drawing disturbing things in a book she always carried around. Eugenia meant to talk to her, but the fire happened. Mrs. Nightwing threatened to throw her out if the behavior didn’t stop. Mina left at night, taking the dagger.
Gemma and Felicity go to the realms. Pippa pulls Gemma aside for a magic boost and tells her not to give the factory workers as much because Bessie wanted to return to the Winterlands without Gemma. Gemma goes to the Winterlands alone. While sailing down the river and into a cave, she notices that it seems unfamiliar from her last trip. A water nymph leads her to Amar, who has a message for Kartik (“Remember your heart”). Gemma rushes back to the Borderlands.
Gemma finds Kartik’s scarf and a note. She goes to meet him at midnight dressed as a boy. They take the horse, Freya, to London and then a cab to Tower Bridge. They meet with an informant who tells them that the Rakshana is pursuing Tom. However they are not telling him everything. The informant has double crossed them and Fowlson shows up. They try to escape him and his men by boat jumping and entering a sewer. Fowlson catches up and has a knife to Kartik’s neck. Gemma uses her magic to freeze Fowlson’s feet in place and put his head close to the water. She sees his mother’s hatred and that she tried to drown him as a child. She lets him stay above the water and they leave him frozen there. Kartik explains that Amar came to him telling him that he, Kartik, would be the death of Gemma. They kiss, but it is getting late and Fowlson will be free soon, so they must keep going. Once they are back at Spence, Gemma gives Kartik the message from Amar to listen to his heart.
Mr. Miller catches Mother Elena defacing the school with blood. Mrs. Nightwing tells the Gypsies that they must move on when Mother Elena is well enough. She sends Gemma with a basket of food and medicine to Mother Elena. The old Gypsy tells Gemma that she thinks someone is trying to raise the dead by reconstructing the east wing. Gemma starts returning to the school, but is hit by a vision. She sees the dagger and Mina shooting up Cocaine. Gemma feels the affects of the drug and seems to have gone crazy. She is brought in by the workers and will only trust Brigid. She tells Mrs. Nightwing that she will expose her. The headmistress brings her to find out what Gemma means, but she plays dumb. Gemma asks about Mina and finds that it was her idea to start construction on the east wing. Gemma goes for a midnight snack and Miss McCleethy has a meeting with Fowlson that she overhears. She finds out that Kartik is supposed to be spying on her for Miss McCleethy because she saved his life and offered to save both Amar and Gemma. Gemma runs out to the boathouse when it is safe. She confronts Kartik who doesn’t deny any of it. He tells her that he tried to stay away so that there was nothing to report. She leaves and goes straight to the realms, to Circe, and tells her everything. Something changes and Gemma starts worshiping the power rather than fearing it. On the way back to the real world, she is confronted by Amar again. He tells her again to fear the birth of May.
Gemma attends Felicity’s ball. They both ditch there chaperones rather quickly. Gemma dances with Simon. Felicity is being followed around by Lady Markham’s son, Horace. Gemma sees Fowlson and follows him. She overhears him speaking to Lord Denby about improving his position in the Rakshana. Gemma approaches Denby and convinces him to speak with her alone. He refuses to give up his ploy with Tom when Gemma asks, so she warns him that she can be dangerous. She returns to the ball and has Simon address her informally. They dance slightly inappropriately and gossip started. Lucy leaves the ball and Lord Denby has to consol his son. Gemma continues to use magic to get her way. She finds out that her father is still drinking laudanum, and Tom didn’t get an invite to his “new club” Sunday night as they had promised him.
Gemma and Felicity go to VanRipple’s for information. He isn’t much help and they buy Mina’s slate off of him with fake money. Gemma donates to the girls striking because of the factory fire again.
The girls return to Spence and are invited to attend a birthday party for Ann’s cousin. The rest of the girls in the class talk about Felicity’s ball. Gemma goes to her room and sees Kartik looking at her through the window. She ignores him and goes to bed. She is waken by noises and follows them. The creatures that have been trapped in the column in the great room are starting to escape.
Mrs. Nightwing, Felicity, and Gemma arrive at Ann’s cousin’s country house. She is forced to take the children into the rose garden (even though they tend to destroy it). Felicity tells Lottie that a monster will eat her and she runs off to her mom. By the time the little girl comes back to destroy more roses, Gemma has given Ann magic. Ann has the roses attack Lottie. She runs to tell the adults, but no one believes her. Ann gives the girl the illusion of chicken pox and the guests start leaving. Ann is sent to Spence for three weeks because she has never had chicken pox.
Mummers come to the school to perform for the students. Mrs. Nightwing eventually allows the girls outside to watch. Gemma is selected to play the princess, but is quickly replaced by Ann. To revive the hero, a cup is passed around that the girls put wishes in it. When the show is over, time slows and Gemma sees the mummers turn into birds and fly away. When she tries to tell Ann, she points out that the mummers are carrying their lanterns through the woods.
The students practice their acts for the masked ball. Gemma isn’t felling well and her stage fright also gives her some issues. Mrs. Nightwing is disappointed. Cecily dances well and Gemma makes her fall. A nymph mocks her and she responds, but no one else can see the nymph. She runs outside and finds Freya, alone and still saddled. She returns her to the Gypsies and they explain that Ithal was riding her the previous night. Kartik tells Gemma that he dreamed about him and her fighting side by side. Miss McCleethy confronts Gemma about the magic, but she refuses to give anything away. Felicity and Ann wake her to go into the realms.
The girls are not in the castle when they get there. Wendy is alone and hiding. Mr. Darcy, the rabbit, was freed by someone because his cage is empty. The centaurs come to take Gemma to see Philon because Creostus was murdered and found with a poppy in his hand. They think that the Hajin did it. Since they saw Gemma go to the temple, they think she helped. Gemma confesses about taking to Circe. Felicity is furious that Gemma went to and trusted their enemy. Gemma points out that Pippa is missing and cannot be trusted either. Felicity slaps her and storms off.
When they return to the castle, the other girls are there, and Pippa has magic of her own. Gemma takes her aside to ask about it, but Pippa says that it just stuck from when Gemma gave it to her. Gemma goes back to Circe, who suggests that Pippa made a deal with the Winterland creatures. Gemma emerges and Asha talks to her about how the didn’t kill Creostus. Gemma talks loudly about turning down the magic and Asha starts loosing control of the Hajin. Gemma returns to the castle to collect Felicity and Ann. Once they are back at Spence, Ann and Felicity discover that they can open the door by themselves.
Inspector Kent comes to visit Mademoiselle LeFarge. He tells the girls his stories from working at Scotland Yard. Mademoiselle LeFarge changes the subject to their wedding details. Mrs. Nightwing sends Gemma and Elizabeth to get a hymnal from the chapel. Elizabeth gets frightened and Gemma sends her back to the school. IN the chapel, the window with the gorgon head tries to keep Gemma inside, warning her that the woods aren’t safe. She rushes out in her terror and runs into Mr. Miller’s missing men, who seem to be some sort of specters. Gemma runs back to the Chapel, but hears that she was followed. The Gypsies are Kartik are there. They hear screams from the camp and when they arrive, the find Mr. Miller and his men pillaging. Gemma shows herself and tell them to leave. Mr. Miller refuses so she gets into his head and finds that he likes to hurt things. She speaks inside his head until he runs. Mrs. Nightwing, Miss McCleethy, and Inspector Kent show up and Kartik explains what happened. Inspector Kent goes to talk to Mr. Miller’s men. On the way back to Spence, Gemma sees a gargoyle move.
Ann is late for her audition and must sing for the two men holding the audition out in the street to get their attention. She ends up getting the part.
Gemma tells Felicity and Ann her theory about Pippa sacrificing Mr. Darcy to the Winterland Creatures, but they refuse to believe her. Gemma wonders over to Eugenia’s grave. Kartik appears and she invites him to attend the mask. He tells her that he is leaving on the ship. Gemma apologizes to Felicity, who then tells Gemma that Lady Markham has agreed to sponsor Felicity if she agrees to marry Horace. This would give him her inheritance. Gemma finds the dagger hidden in the base of Mina’s slate.
The night of the ball, Gemma’s family arrives. During the younger girls’ performance, Gemma finds that she is sitting next to Fowlson, who has come to kill Kartik. Gemma leaves and goes to the boathouse to warn him. Kartik is not concerned about Fowlson. He has changed his mind about Amar. Gemma takes him to the realms to see his brother.
Gemma shows Kartik around the realms. She takes him to the Cave of Sighs where they put their hands together in a symbol and dream together. IN the dream, Kartik draws a circle around Gemma seven times to symbolize the joining of their souls and then they have sex. They come out of the dream and Gemma gifts Kartik with magic. She tells him he can have or do anything and he kisses her.
The gorgon appears and wants to show Gemma something. They go into the Winterlands and there is a dead water nymph in the cave. Gemma gifts Kartik and the gorgon and they create a disguise before they continue on. They find Amar sacrificing souls to the tree in front of a group of creatures. He speaks of a plan set in motion by “her.” Gemma thinks he is talking about Circe. Gemma tells the gorgon to go to Philon and the Hajin to tell them they will join hands in alliance that night. They return to Spence and Kartik runs off, upset he failed his brother.
Gemma goes to get Felicity and Ann to form the alliance, but her friends are mad that she went into the realms without them. Gemma tries to tell her father the truth, but he will not listen. She tries to make him see the truth and finds that he is not recovering from his addiction. When she lets go of him, he falls, gasping for breath. Gemma runs to the realms to form the alliance with the forest folk and Hajin, but when she gets to the well, Circe frees herself. She explains that it is possible because Gemma gave her magic of her own free will. Circe is able to trap Gemma and render her magic useless. She takes the dagger and leaves. Gemma watches everything fall to ruins in a vision and hurries back to Spence, overwhelmed with the magic. She returns to the party and appears to have gone crazy, so they put her to bed. Gemma wakes and finds Ann is not in her bed. Gemma thinks that she went into the realms with Felicity without her. Gemma goes to save them. She is stopped by Ithal who tells her the Rakshana has Kartik. She rides with him on Freya until she realizes that his is a Winterland creature. She runs away and is saved by the Spence gargoyles. One tells her that the seal between the worlds is broken and it is time for her to wake up. Gemma wakes up in her bed, convinced it was all a dream. Ithal is found dead in the lake, which may be why Freya paused there in her dream.
Gemma tries to participate in daily Spence life, but finds that she doesn’t have the stomach for it. Felicity and Ann come to visit her in bed and she tells them that she must bind the magic because it is too much for her. Felicity storms out because then she might not have magic to help her through her debut. Gemma meet Kartik at the chapel and tells him everything that has happened. He tells her that they will stop Circe together. Mrs. Nightwing informs Gemma that a message come from Tom saying their father is extremely ill. Ann tells Gemma that Felicity went to join Pippa forever.
They enter the realms and see the temple burning. The forest folk have retaliated for the death of Creostus. They put out the fire and go to see Philon. Gemma points out that they can’t make the alliance because the temple burned. Neela the shape shifter claims that Gemma is lying about needing the alliance to defeat the Winterland Creatures. Gemma and Ann find Felicity with Pippa. Gemma asks where little, blind Wendy is. After a while, Pippa admits that she sacrificed the rabbit and took Wendy to the Winterlands. Gemma tells them about Pippa trying to cross over. Felicity is hurt and Pippa has a seizure. She is so angry that she encircles everyone with fire, telling them that she was chosen. The factory girls believe, but Felicity doesn’t. She kisses Pippa and decides not to stay forever. Pippa lets them go.
Gemma comforts Felicity from the loss of her lover.
Arguing with Tom, Gemma refuses to pretend that her father is sick from climate change. Since their father is sick, Tom is now technically her guardian. He tells her that she is not returning to Spence. She argues with him more, but to no avail. She pleads with him not to go to the Rakshana. He denies that he’s ever heard the name and leaves with Fowlson as his driver.
Gemma visits with her father and wonders why his grief overpowered his love for her. Gemma dreams about Mina telling Sarah that she could show her the Winterlands. Gemma then sees Circe bound to a tree, begging for help.
Gemma attends a tea for Lucy Fairchild. She tells her that Simon was saving her from a man that was being too forward the night of Felicity’s ball. She returns home and goes to her room and Kartik is there, worried because she hasn’t returned to Spence. He hides when the maid delivers a package form the Rakshana: Tom’s hat and a message for her to meet with them. Kartik insists on going with her.
Fowlson blindfolds Gemma and Kartik follows behind the carriage. She is taken to a room filled with cloaked figures and a man has a knife to Tom’s neck. She realizes that if they kill Tom, they have nothing left to bargain with. She conjures an illusion of the wall catching fire. They set Tom free and she asks the Rakshana to help her fight the Winterland creatures. They send Fowlson with her. Seeing that Tom is drunk, she punches him to knock him out for the carriage ride. When he wakes, she tells him everything. She then takes him to the Hippocrates Society and tells them that he saved them from muggers. He agrees to let her live her life and go back to Spence. While riding in the carriage with Kartik, they try to solve the clues they have received from Mina. The scenery starts to look familiar and Gemma tells Fowlson to pull over. He tells her that he won’t stop in the key because it is a terrible neighborhood.
They stop and go into the dilapidated building Mina once stayed in. They find the room that Gemma saw in her visions. There is writing all over the walls. Gemma touches the walls and has a vision. Eugenia is bound to the Tree of All Souls and is eventually corrupted. She asks for a sacrifice and the Winterland creatures ask her to lead them. Eugenia comes up with a plan to rebuild the east wing. Mina’s ability to see the dark places comes in too late as she has already shown Miss McCleethy Eugenia’s message. Mina tries to warn the Order, but they won’t listen. The last thing that Gemma sees is that Mina’s death was an accident, not a murder. They realize that the birth of May is May 6, Eugenia’s birthday, which happens to be that day.
Gemma tries to tell Mrs. Nightwing and Miss McCleethy what is happening. Miss McCleethy refuses to believe. Ann and Felicity where secretly listening in to the conversation at the door. The girls realize it is up to them now.
One of the younger girls claims that pixies were on the back lawn the previous night. They explain it away with a dream, but Mrs. Nightwing thinks that Gemma is right. Kartik fetches Mother Elena who shows them how to put blood on the doors and windows for protection. Gemma makes it a game for the rest of the girls. They all wait together in the great room. Gemma starts to fall asleep and then the clock stops. Those that are aware of the situation know that the beasts have arrived.
The column that holds the creatures moves and they are set free. The girls get everyone out of the great room and seal it. Miss McCleethy leads them all to the chapel. Gemma forms a team with Kartik, Fowlson, Miss McCleethy, Felicity, and Ann. They are going to get to the secret door so that they can get into the realms and cut down the Tree of All Souls. They get trapped inside the school and Gemma has no choice but to use the magic to create a door. Kartik and Fowlson scout ahead. Miss McCleethy and Gemma argue about the nobility of the Order. When the guys return, they announce that the garden is gone.
They find the gorgon and set sail. They find Asha, who tells them that the forest folk might be in trouble. They go and see the forest has been set on fire. Asha helps direct the creatures to the river through the smoke. Everyone is ready to travel to the Winterland. Gemma realizes that Neela killed Creostus to start a war. Asha agrees to watch over the wounded shape shifter and agrees to be part of Gemma’s alliance. Philon tells Gemma that the Winterland Army is heading for the Borderlands. Felicity sneaks off to warn Pippa after Gemma decides that they don’t have time. Gemma, Ann, and Miss McCleethy go after Felicity and send the others ahead.
They get to the castle and Pippa lets them. She tells them that Felicity is in the tower to be sacrificed. Miss McCleethy offers her life for Felicity’s and Pippa accepts. However, Pippa still wants her friends to join her cult. They refuse and Gemma has to use magic to prevent themselves from being sacrificed. The struggle causes the castle to fall, entombing Pippa. Bessie asks to join Gemma’s side.
The group returns to the gorgon. Fowlson is upset at the loss of Miss McCleethy. They sneak into the Winterlands and Kartik finds a spot where they can hide and see what is going on. The army is extremely large. Felicity spots Wendy (still alive because she ate the berries) being pulled along by Poppy Warriors. Gemma uses her magic to make everyone look like her and they all charge into battle. The Winterland creatures are confused by the tactic. The gorgon comes to help, and—after almost turning her to stone—tell Gemma not to look at her. The tree grows stronger with every kill, not discriminating what side it came from. The disguise is starting to fail. Philon goes down injured. Gemma grabs the ax and runs for the tree. The tree trips her and she sees Circe in a cocoon with the dagger in its branches. Circe drops the dagger down to Gemma. Gemma is tempted into the tree by Eugenia. Circe gets her to remember herself and the lessons she taught her. Gemma knows why Circe told her to search her dark corners. That as how Eugenia was defeated and corrupted; she didn’t know enough about the Winterlands to protect herself. Gemma is forced out of the tree. She tries to release the souls with the dagger, but the tree knocks it away. Amar gets to it first and stabs her in the side. She pulls out the dagger and releases the souls.
The three have come for Gemma and she must make a choice. If she eats the berries, she will go with the three to live in glory forever. Circe appears and is told that she will wonder for some time. Gemma takes the berry into her mouth by spits it out. She has decided to go back and give Circe her place. Gemma returns to her bloody body on the battlefield. The tree splits open and the magic flows into Kartik. Amar asks his brother to free him and Kartik runs him through with a sword. Kartik kisses Gemma and it is as if they are of one mind. Gemma is being pulled by the tree and Kartik takes her place. The Winterland creatures start talking of claiming the temple magic from her again. She give the magic back to the realms, informing everyone that they are to share it equally, including the Winterlands.
They return to their world. Gemma erases the student’s memories leaving only a seed of doubt. Brigid asks to keep her memories. Gemma suffers alone, trying to deal with what happened.
Mrs. Nightwing says goodbye to Felicity and Ann. Then Gemma does. They head for London. Ann’s cousins are furious that she is not returning. Gemma is about to have her debut, but she doesn’t care.
Gemma makes it through her debut. Lord Denby asks for a partnership in watching over the realms. Gemma refuses and Tom saves her from further conversation. Gemma pulls her father aside and asks for her freedom, which he grants her. He plans to return to India. Felicity will not marry Horace (he didn’t have any interest in the arrangement either) but will be going to Paris to be a bohemian. Lucy accepted Simon’s proposal.
Gemma sees her father to the ship that will take him to India before returning to Spence. She enters the realms and sees all sorts of creatures working together. She visits the tree. Wendy finds her and shows her the magic is growing. Gemma helps the souls cross over, including Mother Elena.
Gemma talks to Mrs. Nightwing about watching the door to the realms. She agrees to do so. Gemma also mentions that the school might teach girls real lessons, but Mrs. Nightwing won’t hear of it quite yet. Gemma and Felicity attend Mrs. LeFarge’s wedding to Inspector Kent.
Gemma goes to America. Kartik appears in her dreams. He draws her the dream-walking-lovers symbol. He speaks to her just before she is woken up by the sun.
Gemma Doyle Trilogy:
A Great and Terrible Beauty
The Sweet Far Thing