According to a Latin American proverb, a complete woman must be a lady in the living room, a chef in the kitchen, and a courtesan in the bedroom. Pilar is none of the above. When Pilar inherits her grandmother's diaries, she discovers what is missing in her life, as well as the secret life her grandmother managed to keep hidden for decades. The black silk-bound diaries reveal the secret beauty rituals of South American women, rules of social etiquette, and delicious recipes to seduce men, which teach Pilar to be the perfect wife, lover, and woman.
Offsetting this sumptuous world of a woman's Venezuelan life in the '40s is Pilar's story -- a culturally confused woman living in Chicago with thoughts and dreams that need inspiration. As she reads through the diaries, she slowly begins to discover the importance of tradition and how to incorporate it into her life as an independent, professional woman. And perhaps finally, she will find the courage to allow herself to love the man she isn't supposed to, but desperately does.