London, 1673. With her family ruined by war, penniless thirteen-year-old Sarah Jennings is overjoyed to be chosen as maid of honor at the bawdy Restoration court of Charles II. She soon wins the trust of Lady Anne of York, a lonely princess who becomes one of her staunchest allies. And though Sarah's beauty stirs the desires of the jaded aristocrats, she wants a grander future for herself than that of a pampered mistress. Only one man possesses ambition and passions that match her own: John Churchill, a dashing young military hero. He would ask for her hand - and win her heart for a lifetime . . .