Roland Michell is an upstart American scholar in London on a fellowship to study the great Randolph Henry Ash. Ash is best known for the rapturous poems he dedicated to his wife, and is currently the subject of a major exhibition. Maud Bailey is a brilliant, by-the-book academic, researching the life and work of the lesser-known Victorian poet Christabel LaMotte. As the history books tell it, La Motte met Ash briefly at a dinner, and they never encountered each other again. When Maud and Roland discover a cache of love letters that appear to link the two poets as secret lovers, they follow the trail of clues across England to the Continent. As the growing mystery leads them from dusty bookshelves to exotic hideaways and beyond, their adventure, in a very modern way, begins to mirror the romantic journey of Ash and LaMotte, over a century earlier.