Miss Arabella Leeds, the teenage daughter of a prominent New York family, and Aubrey Paxton, the pampered "high-yellow" house servant of wealthy New Orleans slaveholders, are destined to meet and fall in love. But before their paths can cross, and their romance commence in London, each must forsake complacency and comfort, the familial and familiar, for a journey toward self-discovery and the allure of the forbidden. Arabella must abandon the gentlewoman's prescribed path and redefine her convictions - particularly those regarding her own sexuality.
Cultural and familial fireworks flare when the headstrong teenage daughter of a wealthy New Yorker falls passionately in love with a young man from New Orleans, and from a very different background indeed. What makes this story sizzle and soar are its time and place - the United States during the Civil War and Victorian England - and a couple of key facts about the protagonists.