Born at sea and raised on shipboard, adventurous young Abigail Sherman wants nothing more than to be wedded to the ocean. Like her mother, a pioneer seafaring woman, Abigail is convinced that her destiny is to be a captain’s wife at sea.
Instead, fate conspires against her, when her father packs her off to the dour household of relatives in New Bedford, Massachusetts, to learn proper womanly decorum. Arriving on the same day as the momentous news of the discovery of gold in California, Abigail does her best to conform, despite being involved in controversial events, including the Women’s Rights movement, and a sensational murder trial.

News of her father’s brutal murder impels her to escape to South America, where she enters into a marriage of convenience with a strongwilled young whaling captain. Her legacy is the ownership of the brig she grew up on, and a puzzling rhyme that may lead to a fortune.

But, before she can return to New Zealand to collect, Abigail must outwit the grumbling seamen of her husband’s ship, a mystery murderer, and her own attractive, strangely hostile husband.