Kamala (Hindi for ""lotus"") Lindsey, pulchritudinous young orphan, runs away when she is told by her sadistic Uncle Marcus in 1839 that he is going to force her to marry a 60-year-old lech. She vows to marry only for love. Instantly she meets a handsome stranger, Sir Conrad Veryan, who has had a riding accident. Kamala takes him to an inn and nurses him back to health; the dear little innocent notes that she is becoming attached to him but doesn't realize it is Love. Conrad, being penniless, is en route to Mexico to make his fortune, and she decides to go along. They stow away--as brother and sister--aboard the ship of one Capt. Van Wyck, who turns out to be a would-be ravisher; and no sooner do they escape him (he is dispatched by a miraculous smallpox epidemic) than they fall into the hands of a demented Hispanic princeling who also lusts for Kamala's bod. Rapid changes of scene at least make this slightly more substantial than the fairy-tale froth that Cartland has been serving for dessert lately.