Dana is taken to the hospital by her husband Kevin after he discovers her screaming and trying to remove her arm from a hole in the wall. At the hospital, the police believe that Kevin was responsible and arrest him, though he is later released.
On Dana’s twenty-sixth birthday, while talking to Kevin, she suddenly finds herself in a grove of trees and rushes into a river to save a drowning boy, Rufus. Rufus’s father shoves a gun in her face. Dana finds herself back in her apartment and tries to explain to Kevin what occurred.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of Prologue & The River
The Fire, Parts 1–6
Dana returns to the past and sees Rufus, learning that the year is 1815. Rufus says his last name is Weylin and that he has a Black friend, Alice Greenwood, and Dana realizes Rufus is her ancestor. When Dana arrives at Alice’s house, she learns that Alice’s father is a slave of Tom Weylin. Outside, a patrolman assaults Dana, but she loses consciousness and returns home to Kevin.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of The Fire, Parts 1–6
The Fall, Part 1
Dana and Kevin met while working at a warehouse. They bonded over being writers, and they were teased by another employee for being an interracial couple
The Fall, Part 2
Kevin holds Dana and is transported to the past with her, where they find that Rufus has broken his leg. Dana sends Nigel, a Black boy, to get help. Dana and Kevin reveal to Rufus that they come from California in the year 1976.
The Fall, Part 3
When Tom Weylin arrives to retrieve Rufus, Weylin agrees to let Kevin and Dana stay at their home. The slave who arrives with Weylin warns that he is a cruel man and Rufus is not much better. Margaret Weylin treats Dana coldly and sends her to the cookhouse for dinner, where Dana meets Carrie, the daughter of Sarah, the cook, as well as Luke. Nigel warns Dana that Weylin resents her educated speech and worries that Dana might give the slaves ideas about freedom.
The Fall, Part 4
When Kevin comes for Dana, Dana worries that playing the role of a white slave owner might affect Kevin. Kevin reveals that he has been hired by Weylin to tutor Rufus.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of The Fall, Parts 1–4
The Fall, Part 5
Margaret harasses Dana as she takes on chores at the Weylin home. Kevin tries to persuade Dana to leave, but Dana wants to remain until Rufus’s leg has healed. Dana learns from Rufus that he told Margaret that Dana saved him from the river. Weylin says he wants to buy Dana from Kevin.
The Fall, Part 6
After being forced to watch Weylin whip a slave, Dana does not defend herself when Margaret slaps her for having slept in Kevin’s room. Sarah tells Dana that Margaret was the one who insisted on selling Sarah’s children.
The Fall, Part 7
Nigel asks Dana to teach him to read, and Dana asks Nigel if he understands the risks involved. Nigel shows Dana the scars he’s received from being whipped. After seeing children pretending to auction one another, Dana is disturbed by the ease with which she and Kevin have grown accustomed to slavery.
The Fall, Part 8
Upon finding Nigel teaching Carrie how to read, Dana agrees to teach Carrie in secrecy as Sarah worries of the repercussions that would ensue if they were caught. Soon after, Weylin catches Dana reading and whips her.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of The Fall, Parts 5–8
The Fight, Part 1
While dating, Dana and Kevin’s families harbored animosity over their interracial relationship. They chose to marry anyway.
The Fight, Part 2
Dana returns to the present without Kevin and finds herself feeling disoriented and afraid to leave the house. As days pass, she reads books about slavery but is put off by the rosy depictions..
The Fight, Part 3
Dana returns back in time where she prevents Alice’s husband, a slave named Isaac Jackson, from killing a now-teenaged Rufus for having raped Alice. Isaac and Alice run off, but not before telling Dana that Kevin has gone up north.
The Fight, Part 4
Rufus suggests that even though he raped Alice, he would have married her if he had been born in Dana’s time. Rufus agrees to lie that he was beaten by white men.
The Fight, Part 5
When Dana arrives at the Weylins’ property, she finds Carrie pregnant with Nigel’s child, and Nigel takes Dana and Weylin in a cart to find Rufus. Weylin tells Dana that she can stay if she works.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of The Fight, Parts 1–5
The Fight, Part 6
Dana is ordered to stay the night with Rufus to nurse his fever, and she learns from Nigel that Weylin knows she is a time traveler. She explains to Rufus how mere days pass for her when she returns home, while years pass for him. Sarah tells Dana that Margaret left after her twins died in infancy.
The Fight, Part 7
Alice and Isaac are captured, and Alice becomes a slave. Rufus buys her, and when he brings her home in a bloody state, Dana is tasked with caring for her.
The Fight, Parts 8
Rufus tells Dana that he mailed her letter to Kevin, as well as that Isaac was sold to a trader. After hearing Dana express her anger over Rufus now having Alice to himself, Sarah worries that Dana will get herself in trouble and recommends that Dana ask Nigel if Rufus truly did mail the letter to Kevin.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of The Fight, Parts 6–8
The Fight, Part 9
Nigel cannot confirm whether Rufus mailed the letter, and he expresses his desire to run away again but feels a sense of gratitude to Rufus for saving him from being sold.
The Fight, Part 10
Alice desires to go to Isaac, but Dana says she would not get far in her weakened state.
The Fight, Part 11
After the birth of Nigel’s son, Jude, Rufus asks Dana to convince Alice to sleep with him. When Dana confronts Alice, Alice asks Dana if she would sleep with Rufus, and Dana replies that she would not. Eventually Alice breaks down and says she will go to Rufus.
The Fight, Part 12
Rufus and Alice get together, but he beats her at least once. When Alice shows Dana the letters she wrote to Kevin that Rufus never sent, Dana runs away. Almost immediately, Dana is discovered by Rufus and Weylin.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of The Fight, Parts 9–12
The Fight, Part 13
Dana is returned to the Weylins’ house, tied up, and beaten, at which point she unsuccessfully tries to time travel. Carrie and Alice are tasked with taking care of Dana.
The Fight, Part 14
Liza, the cleaning woman, told Weylin about Dana’s escape, and Liza is beaten by the other slaves for betraying Dana.
The Fight, Part 15
Rufus reveals that he did not send Kevin the letters because he was afraid that if Kevin returned, he would take Dana away. Dana realizes that Rufus loves her and wonders why she does not hate him like Alice does. Rufus says that Weylin sent a letter to Kevin, and he is expected to return.
The Fight, Part 16
Kevin arrives and berates Weylin for whipping Dana, asserting his desire for revenge. Dana convinces Kevin they should leave. As Kevin and Dana depart, they run into Rufus who threatens to shoot them if they do not stay.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of The Fight, Parts 13–16
The Storm, Part 1
Kevin and Dana return to the present and are surprised by how accustomed they grew to their time in the past. Kevin becomes so frustrated by the present that he lashes out at Dana one night. She gets dizzy, prompting him to run for her bag.
The Storm, Part 2
Back at the Weylin plantation, Dana finds Rufus drunk and has Nigel carry him home. Upon seeing a now frail and old Weylin, Dana is warned that if any harm befalls Rufus, Dana will pay the price.
The Storm, Part 3
Dana suggests getting Rufus a doctor, but Weylin claims that Dana can save him, and if she cannot, she will suffer if Rufus dies.
The Storm, Part 4
As Dana tends to Rufus, she learns that he has fathered three children with Alice, but only one, Joe, is still alive. Weylin has a heart attack and dies, and Rufus accuses Dana of letting him die.
The Storm, Part 5
Dana is punished for failing to save Rufus’s father and forced to work in the fields where the new overseer beats her until she passes out.
The Storm, Part 6
Rufus threatens to send Dana back to work in the fields if she leaves again, and he asks Dana to take care of Margaret who is returning home and suffering from an opium addiction.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of The Storm, Parts 1–6
The Storm, Part 7
Dana cares for Margaret when she returns, finding that her old temper has gone. Dana is heartbroken when three slaves are sold and there is nothing she can do to prevent their sale.
The Storm, Part 8
Carrie consoles Dana and says that if Dana had not saved Rufus’s life, they would have all been sold.
The Storm, Part 9
Rufus asks Dana to write letters to his creditors to forestall the sale of more slaves.
The Storm, Part 10
One night after Rufus returns home and insults Alice and Dana, the two women bond over their relationship with Rufus.
The Storm, Part 11
Alice convinces Rufus to let Dana teach Joe. Later, Alice tells Dana that she does not trust Rufus, and she plans to leave after the baby she is carrying is born.
The Storm, Part 12
Hagar, Alice’s daughter and Dana’s ancestor, is finally born and Dana agrees to help Alice escape by giving her opium so that the baby will stay quiet.
The Storm, Part 13
Dana pleads with Rufus to not sell Sam, but he refuses, causing Dana to slit her wrists.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of The Storm, Parts 7–13
The Rope, Part 1
Kevin implies that Dana should kill Rufus.
The Rope, Part 2
Dana returns to 1976 and Kevin accuses her of wanting to return to the past. Dana explains that if she were to let Rufus die, she would not be able to go home.
The Rope, Part 3
Dana returns to the Weylins, only three months having passed, and discovers that Alice committed suicide after Rufus sold Joe and Hagar as punishment for Alice trying to run away. When Dana confronts Rufus, she finds him holding a gun, and he explains that he did not really sell Joe and Hagar; he was just trying to scare Alice. Dana blames Rufus for Alice’s death and tells Rufus that he should free Joe and Hagar.
The Rope, Part 4
Rufus pushes himself onto Dana, revealing that he has sexual feelings for her because she looks so much like Alice. Dana escapes until Rufus finds her in the attic and apologizes. While they embrace, Dana considers the possibility of being with Rufus, but decides against it, stabs him twice, time travels back home, and finds her arm fused to the wall where Rufus had gripped it.
In the present, Dana and Kevin discover that the Weylin estate was sold. Though Dana is unable to find any information about what happened to Hagar and Joe, Dana knows that Hagar lived long enough to be freed.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of The Rope, Parts 1–4 & Epilogue