The time is 1913-50 years after Lincoln freed the slaves. But in the genteel community of Germantown, PA, freedom is the hollowest of words. Certainly there is no freedom from the shackles of oppression for Theodore "Teenotchy" Simms, a black stableboy at the elegant Holybrook manor, an enclave of unquestioned privilege. He is haunted by the memory of his mother and the terrible violation of her death. He is shadowed as well by the shame of his birth-a shame he doesn't understand but forever feels. He seeks only to fade into the invisibility the town is willing to grant him, until Alexander Blake, a young Englishman with a secret shame of his own, forces Teenotchy to confront his destiny and himself.