New York, 1939. Tom Bradshaw is arrested for first degree murder. When Sefton Jelks, a top Manhattan lawyer, offers his services for nothing, penniless Tom has little choice but to accept his offer. After Tom is found guilty, Jelks disappears, and the only way for him to prove his innocence would be to reveal his true identity – something that he has sworn never to do in order to protect the woman he loves. Meanwhile, the young woman in question travels to New York, leaving their son behind in England, having decided she'll do whatever it takes to find the man she was to marry – unwilling to believe that he died at sea. The only proof she has is a letter.
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In a time of looming war, the wealthy liberals of the Whig Party work to topple a tyrannical prime minister and a lunatic king. Will Eliza Farren, England's leading comedic actress, gain entry to that elite circle that calls itself the World? Can Lord Derby endure public mockery of his long, unconsummated courtship of the actress? Will Anne Damer, a sculptor and rumored Sapphist, be the cause of Eliza's fall from grace?