At the outbreak of the Civil War, nineteen-year-old Emily Hudson is dispatched into the care of her distant and cold uncle, to spend the summer at his beach house in Newport. She is an orphan, the sole member of her family not claimed by consumption. Her spirit and vibrancy are at odds with this wealthy yet forbidding family, and also with the stilted climate of American society. It is Emily's cousin William, himself an outsider, who is her savior. His friendship offers her the chance to escape to London to pursue her artistic dreams. But his patronage soon turns darker and more controlling, just as Emily begins to notice her own health faltering.
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