Honor travels to the Quaker settlement in Ohio where her sister’s fiancé and her brother’s widow reside. The surroundings are uncomfortable because of the marital status of all three. Honor also becomes a friend of Belle, a local milliner and non-Quaker who welcomes Honor’s sewing skills to help her with her business. Belle has a half-brother, Donovan, who is a slave hunter. Donovan is enamored of Honor and while she feels an attraction towards him she is horrified by his profession. Instead, she marries a fellow Quaker, Jack, and moves in with him, his widowed mother, and sister. The relationship with her in-laws is awkward; they do not want her to help the escaping slaves. Honor cannot understand why her Quaker community doesn’t support helping the slaves who are traveling through their area en route to the Canadian border.
Following her own principles, Honor becomes involved with the Underground Railroad. After some strife, events build to a climax and a satisfactory resolution.
The author, Tracy Chevalier, was born and raised in the United States, but currently lives in England with her family. She also is the author of Girl with a Pearl Earring.