The novel is narrated from Fanny Osgood's perspective. Fanny was married to a philandering portrait painter who had left her to pursue rich women elsewhere. She's in a tough spot but, fortunately, she has friends she and her daughters can stay with while she tries to earn a living through her writing. Her editor tells her that all anyone wants to read in 1845 are "shivery tales" like the ones Mr. Poe writes, but Osgood writes very feminine poetry about flowers and such. Fanny actually has a chance to meet Poe at a salon for New York writers. She also meets the consumptive Mrs. Poe.
Fanny and Poe--known as Eddie to his friends and family--connect. In spite of their respective marriages and in spite of the scandal it would cause, they continue their flirtation. Cullen writes amazingly, weaving actual history into her story. After reading quick synopses of their lives, I was persuaded that something probably happened between the two of them. The author knitted fiction and truth together so tightly that it was hard to keep the two separate.