34-year-old Julia Fairfax has just decided to change her life as radically as possible. She breaks up with her sexist upper-class fianc?, quits her job and answers an ad for a ship's cook on a 10-passenger barge-like boat She hits it off immediately with her new employer, flighty 24-year-old Suzy Boyd, a wayward daughter of bluebloods who's embarking on her first season of managing her uncle's boat. But when the only other crewman abruptly quits, Julia and Suzy are left disastrously shorthanded until help arrives in the form of Fergus Grindley, sent by Julia's nosy New Age mother. Suzy hires Fergus despite Julia's longtime grudge against him over a childhood prank, and readers will quickly recognize that her aversion falls into the clich?d category of hate-first, love later. When her ex-fianc? (with his mother and black Labrador puppies in tow) books a two-week passage to try to win Julia back, the complications increase.