Newport, R.I. 1880 – American débutante Sara Swan Whiting has been trained for one purpose: to marry well into society. Together with her friends, Carrie Astor and Edith Jones (Wharton) Sara débuts into society and is introduced to the bachelors of New York’s wealthy families, hoping to find the perfect marriage.
‘Ethereally beautiful’ and ‘the spirit of the ball’, Sara garners many suitors. But none steal her heart, until destiny steps in and she is introduced to Oliver Belmont, the handsome son of financier August Belmont.
Raised in the privileged style of his family’s wealth, Oliver is pressured by his father to find a suitable vocation, but prefers a gentleman’s life of leisure. Sent to the naval academy by his parents, he begs to resign, and then shows up at his mother’s Paris suite unannounced – away without leave. Oliver begins to realize marriage will offer him freedom from his father’s constant insistence on a career, and he sets his sights on the naïve and beautiful Miss Whiting. Smitten with Oliver’s charms, Sara begins courting the handsome Mr. Belmont.