Vanni Corso, a charming but ruthless publisher, steals the beautiful and witty wife, Kate Swallow, of his most prestigious author, the intellectual and introverted Alec Bolton. Kate, frustrated and craving independence, is slowly becoming a writer in her own right. Alec, however, utterly rejects the idea that Kate should have a career. Vanni, a self-made Italian-American who has come to England to "sell culture to British snobs" is not only physical and extroverted, but also a brilliant salesman and womanizer. While he is extremely successful from a business point of view, he hopes to find the acceptance he craves from British society by signing on the distinguished writer, Alec Bolton. However, he falls madly in love with Bolton's wife, who is beautiful and witty, as well as a member of the upper class he wishes so desperately to join. Stealing his star author's wife becomes more than just an ambition. It becomes a way for him to strike back at the society that scorns him.