Independent-minded Sibylla Spencer feels trapped in 19th-century London, where her strong will and progressive views have rendered her unmarriageable. Still single at 23, she is treated like a child and feels stifled in her controlling father's house.
When Benjamin Hopkins, an ambitious employee of her father's trading company, shows an interest in her, she realizes marriage is her only chance to escape. As Benjamin's rising career whisks them both away to exotic Morocco, Sibylla is at last a citizen of the world, reveling in her newfound freedom by striking her first business deals, befriending locals - and falling in love for the first time with a charismatic and handsome Frenchman.
But Benjamin's lust for money and influence draws him into dark dealings, pulling him ever further from Sibylla and their two young sons. When he's arrested on horrible charges, the fate of Sibylla's family rests on her shoulders, as she must decide whether she'll leave him to his fate or help him fight for his life.