Felix, a blocked novelist, and his noticeably younger lover, Colin, are estranged but still in love. Felix, you see, is so obsessed by his admiration for the nineteenth-century master of French letters, Gustave Flaubert, that he fails to take any interest in either Colin's burgeoning choreography career or their relationship. Their friends Ursula (a nutty summer stock actress, writer and part time spiritualist) and her husband, Howard, arrive for an outing, but while practicing her spiritual channeling Ursula accidentally conjures up Flaubert himself along with his faithful mistress of many years, Louise. They tell their startled twentieth-century hosts that they, too, have been fighting on and off about the way Flaubert neglects Louise and instead locks himself away to write for months at a time. Colin immediately sympathizes with Louise and he confides in her that he's been hoping to start an affair with a very attractive and flirtatious gardener named Jace. Eventually, because Felix and Flaubert have been spending all their time with each other discussing art and writing, tempers explode and Louise takes a shot at Flaubert, accidentally wounding Felix. Hurt feelings all around, Ursula is called back to the country house and returns Flaubert and Louise to their century. Having come through the worst, and his writer's block gone, Felix makes up with Colin, and the two begin their lives anew.
Take a sumptuous Connecticut garden (and gardener); a struggling novelist trying to complete Gustave Flaubert's final, unfinished novel Bouvard et Pecuchet; his choreographer lover; a spiritualist who's playing Madame Arcati in a summer stock production of Blithe Spirit; and last, but not least, the magical arrival of the author of Madame Bovary himself, along with his lover, the feminist-poet Louise Colet, and you have all the ingredients for a bold and fanciful excursion into the land of love, literature and the intrepid artistic idols whom we want to adore—at least until we really get to know them. "…handsomely stimulating and…deliriously enjoyable." —NY Post. "…long passages of tangy, bubbly writing…produces what is not only Parnell's wittiest but his most mature work so far…" —Village Voice.