Gabriella Berryngton is an unhappy and oppressed fourteen-year-old girl living in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1683. She dreams of escaping her bitter, ambitious stepfather and sailing off into the unknown.
Her dreams come true when her stepfather sells her into marriage.
Aboard the Freyja, she is hopeful that her new life in the Dutch West Indies will be an improvement – a hope that dies when she is given a slave, Klara, and a whip. She discovers that her soon-to-be father-in-law is a ruthless slave trader in league with pirates, and her fiancé is cold, unfriendly and disinterested in Gabriella. She is little more than a vessel to provide the next generation of van Eckens.
Largely ignored and desperately unhappy, she and Klara develop a friendship which makes life bearable – at first. Once married, Gabriella’s life takes a turn for the worse and she descends into a world of horror and abuse until tensions finally explode. Life will never be the same and she has no choice but to take fate into her own hands.