Young Luisa's dying father entrusted her to a dear but older friend, the cavalier Sanfelice. Our of affection and acknowledgement, she marries him.
Young Salvato is an Italian Frenchman with a violent and impulsive personality. He fights for Napoleon's republic.
During a battle with the queen's men, he is injured in front of Luisa's home. She kindly takes him in and cares for him. They develop and troubled but sincere love affair amidst the good and bad of the rising Napoleonic republic, revolutionary revolts, wars and conspiracies. Luisa loves Salvato as much as his beliefs. Her innocence and dedication leads her to uncovering a terrible murder conspiracy.
The people elect her "Godmother of the Patria".
Queen Caroline's reaction is furious. She orders a bloody retaliation. Luisa and Salvato are the first to suffer from it.