Abandoned and penniless, Patricia Kelley, once a gentleman's daughter, stows away on a ship headed for the West Indies, and Barbados, the island of her birth, in hopes of reclaiming her father's estate after his death. It's not long before she is discovered, and she is torn between the simple life and love of a commoner, and the station that which she was born into. But will she really have any choice in the matter, or does Patricia dare to forge her own way into this new world?
The book contains three parts, the first of which is slightly hard to read into. Collison's writing is wrought with many, many details, but rather than bog the plot down, it does a commendable job in building suspense throughout the story. Once readers get past part one and into the heart of the novel, they will find themselves falling for the characters. This is perhaps one of the most realistic tales considering the traditions and customs of the era, but rather than turn off the reader, they will find themselves completely absorbed in Patricia's quest for fulfillment in this unflinching and poignant tale.