Miranda Graham, a clothing designer and the widowed mother of two teenagers, is sent by her company to China to meet with officials at the factory manufacturing her designs. On her arrival, overwhelmed by the foreignness of China for which she was unprepared, she meets Yuan Li, a builder, the son of a Chinese mother and an American soldier, and himself a widowed father. Li helps her, giving her an introduction to China and helping her to get her bearings. What at first is a friendship based on mutual curiosity soon blossoms into a passionate love affair that bridges the cultural divide between them. Li and Miranda spend all of their spare time alone together, lost in their love. Soon, however, the political and cultural realities intrude upon their idyllic relationship, and Miranda and Li must face the future and a relationship made impossible by everything but love.