1931, Lancashire: When Finn Carlisle loses his wife and unborn child, he spends a few years travelling to keep the sad memories at bay. Just as he's ready to settle down again, his great-uncle dies and leaves everything to him. This includes Heythorpe House in Ellindale just down the road from Leah Willcox and her little fizzy drink factory.
Finn finds a village of people in dire need of jobs, a house that hasn't been cleaned or lived in for thirty years and Reggie, an eleven-year-old who's run away from the nearby orphanage and its brutal Director Buddle. When Finn sees the marks left by regular beatings, he decides Reggie will never go back there.
He can't turn away two hungry young women from the village seeking jobs as maids, either, and they too need help with their lives.
But Buddle has other plans for the child, and will stop at nothing to get Reggie back in his cruel grasp. Finn's new neighbours help him save Reggie but other surprises throw his new plans into turmoil.