Defying her tyrannical father and despite poor health, Elizabeth Barrett married Robert Browning in 1846 after an intense courtship, and they spent the next 15 years in Italy until her death. This book chronicles their union, drawing on their copious correspondence including many of Elizabeth's hitherto unpublished letters. Setting out to cast new light on the life and work of the pair, it shows how the political events of the times inspired their poetry. Delving into their Creole background, it examines Elizabeth's belief that she had African blood. It explores the couple's friendships with Tennyson, Thackeray, Rossetti and William Story, with Harriet Hosmer, Charlotte Cushman and George Sand.