In the mid 1800s, Pyncheon is still a revered namesake in Salem, with the gloomy Pyncheon mansion serving as a stark reminder of the family's upper class history. However, the house - unique for its seven gables - has a dark and deadly past. Its current occupant, the older and unmarried Hepzibah Pyncheon, is all but destitute and unwilling to accept any assistance from her wealthy but unrelenting cousin, Judge Jaffrey Pyncheon. To support her brother Clifford, who is about to leave prison after serving 30 years for murder, Hepzibah opens a shop in a side room. Phoebe, a distant cousin from the country, moves into the mansion to help run the shop. Soon a romance blossoms between Phoebe and Holgrave, an attic lodger who is writing the Pyncheon family history.