Celia Cantu, a paediatrician in modern Cuba, is like her island: warm, welcoming, and attractive. Engaged to Luis, a high-level bureaucrat, and living with her 16-year-old niece, Liliana, Celia enjoys a quiet life in Havana. This tranquillity is disturbed, however, when her former fiance, Joe, returns from Miami to pursue business opportunities in Cuba and challenge Luis for Celia's affections. Celia is further unnerved by moments when she feels her persona merging with that of Celia Sanchez, the revolutionary heroine for whom she was named, and a long-time intimate of Fidel Castro. As she attempts to get to the root of this mental aberration, Celia discovers that Liliana has gone missing. Forced to conclude that her niece may have become a "jinetera" (prostitute), Celia sets out across the island to find Liliana.