Based on the autobiographical work of New Zealand writer Janet Frame, this production depicts the author at various stage of her life. Afflicted with mental and emotional issues, Frame grows up in an impoverished family and experiences numerous tragedies while still in her youth, including the deaths of two of her siblings. Portrayed as an adult by Kerry Fox, Frame finds acclaim for her writing while still in a mental institution, and her success helps her move on with her life.
Nathaniel Williamsen is taken to an island mission with his fiancee Sophie. Their ship, the Rona, is captained by the roguish Bully Hayes, who also takes a liking to Sophie. When Sophie is kidnapped by slave trader Ben Pease "Nate" teams with Hayes in order to find her.