It is the spring of 1818 and Mary O'Shea is once again living on beautiful Mackinac Island, set like a glittering jewel in the vast Great Lakes. The small island Mary knew as a child is now a booming town: Brigades of traders bring their precious furs from far-off western lands and hundreds of Indians camp on the shore, filling the island night with bonfires and the constant sound of beating drums. Mary is delighted with her life on the farm and knows she chose wisely in declining a marriage proposal from James Lindsay, a young duke she met during her travels in London. But love of the land isn't the only reason Mary chose to return to her farm after a taste of England's high society. Mackinac Island is also home to Mary's dearest friend, White Hawk, an Indian raised by white settlers. And although White Hawk is often called away to defend Indian claims to native lands, Mary anticipates his visits, hoping that one day he will stay forever. Then suddenly Mary's plans come into question. James, traveling across America to sketch the land and its people, appears at her doorstep to ask for her hand and declares he will not leave until she consents! Now her future, which once seemed as certain as the ebb and flow of the tides, is cast into stormy waters. Will she journey across the Atlantic to live a life of elegance and ease with James, or will she remain on her beloved island and wait for White Hawk?