Convent-bred orphan Suzanne Dupree is a setup for the first man who will come along and sweep her and her inheritance away. Fortunately, every guy in her antebellum New Orleans neighborhood is a gentleman. Even when her guardian Gilbert Mauriac connives to marry her off to Keith Savage, heir to the huge, debt-ridden Savage Oaks plantation, true love is the only possible result. All the slaves sing in the fields (except Raoul, who writes poems), and the planters sincerely wish they could farm some other way, especially Keith, who wants to reform local government. Suzanne's main problems after her arranged marriage are to win Keith's love (i.e., get rid of his octoroon mistress in the cottage out back) and to find out who her parents were--a search that leads her to Yellowbird's Mansion House, the finest brothel in the Old South. Even with the obligatory miscegnation, rape, incest, floods, and smallpox epidemics, this is basically a simple girl-wants-boy, girl-waits, girl-gets-boy tale with too much sugar in the julep.