In the 1600s, Ester’s brother accidently burns down their Amsterdam house killing their parents, and the Jewish community is reluctant to take on the two orphans because of their mother’s criticism of their archaic beliefs. Blind Rabbi HaCoen Mendes offers to take them to London where he is to instruct the Jewish community, and Ester’s brother will be his scribe. But her brother has other plans and disappears once they arrive in London. The rabbi then uses Ester as his scribe, and she begins to hunger for more knowledge.
Meanwhile in the year 2000, Helen is called to a Richmond mansion to evaluate documents that were hidden for centuries. As she and her assistant, Aaron Levy delve into letters and household information, they discover the scribe was a woman—something unheard of during that time. They are eager to learn who this woman was and what happened to her once the rabbi died.