It is the summer of 1851, and during a gloriously romantic journey down the Rhine by paddle steamer, one woman’s imagination is stretched almost to breaking point. Charlotte is the unmarried sister of the Reverend Charles Morrison with whose family she is travelling. As they board the boat, she suddenly mistakes a passenger for the man she gave up years ago, at her brother’s insistence. And at that moment, this extraordinarily evocative novel creates an aura of romantic, erotic tension that is as compelling as it is mysterious. Charlotte’s inner passion is brilliantly balanced by the stifling manners of the time, as she is drawn inexorably towards confrontation with the passenger, and herself.