Set in 1930s China, this is a true but tragic tale of romance, sexual desire, and untimely death. Beautiful, intelligent, and schooled in the Daoist arts of love, Lin is married to a provincial university professor. Julian Bell, son of Vanessa Bell, and darling of the Bloomsbury set, has arrived in China, hungry for experience. Their mutual attraction leads to a passionate phy-sical and spiritual sojourn in Beijing. Unable to realize their love in a society divided by cultural conflict and the threat of war, they eventually part: Julian to fight for the Loyalists in Spain and Lin to contemplate suicide in her husband's house.