Poetry, romance, and murder combine in this historical novel based on the life of Celia Thaxter (1835-1894). A group of islands off the New Hampshire coast is the backdrop for Thaxter's stormy separation from her husband and her granite determination to provide for their backward son by writing. Soon her essays appear alongside Longfellow's in The Atlantic Monthly and her stories are published with Louisa May Alcott's. The famous British author Charles Dickens dreams about Celia, and Harriet Beecher Stowe and Hawthorne visit the young writer at her parents' resort hotel. Enter bachelor poet John Greenleaf Whittier, and at once Celia throws convention to the wind. Unchaperoned, they linger in her bedroom, dawdle at candlelit croquet, and take long moonlit strolls. A double axe murder and the hottest trial of the 19th century turns this captivating story into a real sizzler.