Legend has it that Blackbeard frequented an inn in Beaufort, North Carolina that was called The White House. This story is based on one fateful visit that the town still talks about today. Annie Simpson is a Scottish lass on her way to the colonies as an indentured servant until her ship is attacked by Blackbeard's crew. Israel Hands is Blackbeard's second in command who is questioning his commitment to pirate life. Lizzie Poole is a lonely innkeeper's daughter who longs for a secure home all her own. As their worlds collide they explore the timeless dynamics of power in personal and professional relationships.

When Charles French of Berkely, Massachussetts accepted a position in North Carolina, he thought he would save enough money to fund his law studies. He would spend two years tutoring Dr. James Manney's children and then return north for a clerkship. He had not expected to fall in love with the daughter of his employer. Over the course of his two years in the Manney house Charles realizes that the future he wants to build has to include her. 

Nancy Manney is the bright, bookish daughter of one of Beaufort's most prominent families who longs to experience the world outside their small seaside town. She finds a kindred spirit in the adventurous young family tutor. They keep their love a secret from her family and plan marry when Charles becomes a lawyer. The only thing standing in their way is her father's pride and determination that she marry into one of the state's leading families. As Charles leaves for his clerkship their love comes up against the wall of Dr. Manney's plans for Nancy setting off a battle of wills that spans decades.