Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan) is a precocious girl with a bent for storytelling. A natural introvert, her idea of a good time is to put pen to paper and reflect on her inner life. Her "sister" Clara (Gemma Arterton) is the complete opposite: extroverted and sexual, she struts around in stilettos and skin-tight garb, attracting hungry male gazes wherever she goes. Both carry secrets from deep in their shared past - all 200 years of it - which bubbles to the surface as Jordan wends his way through the twists and turns of the plot. It turns out that Clara was involved in a passionate love affair during the Napoleonic Wars, while at the same time Eleanor was abandoned as a child. In the present, both seek to preserve their secret from their unsuspecting new companions. Eleanor falls for a sweet young waiter (Caleb Landry Jones), while Clara settles on a homey, unsuspecting man (Daniel Mays) who has just come into an inheritance: the Byzantium Hotel, which has seen better days. The fun begins as Eleanor and Clara shack up in the hotel, feeding off their victims while attempting to stay one step ahead of their pursuers, who are hot on the duo's trail after Clara rather violently disposes of a particularly seedy pickup.