Soft-boiled period romance in old (circa 1807) Russia, full of the usual powdered footmen, jewels, and serfs. And a serf is what heroine Katya becomes when her father--elderly, fiery Count Vassily Vorontzov--dies; Katya's long-dead mother was a serf, and now the Count's mean widow Elena Petrovna sends her hated stepdaughter off to serfdom in Katya's mother's old village. But Elena's daughter Lisa--Katya's half-sister--remains loyal and loving and sets off in pursuit, accompanied by Englishman George Graham (whom Katya has off-handedly promised to marry). Meanwhile, Katya the Serf and her wise, kindly grandfather outwit the village chief (whom Elena has ordered to marry Katya); and then they use the infatuation of a foolish nobleman to whisk Katya away from the village. . . to Moscow, where she intends to study and dance in the ballet. Throughout, Katya somehow manages to retain her virginity, although it's nip and tuck--especially with old family friend Prince Dmitry Lunin, who's into kisses at the decolletage. And at the dose, Prince Hotlips will marry Katya while Lisa and Graham will sail to England as one. Addled and amiable.