Living above her stepfather's fish and chip shop on Merseyside's Paradise Parade, Emily Barr is glad to escape to the relative peace of her job in Wythenshaw's jewellery factory. And when she is promoted to work for young Mr Giles, the son of the owner, she is the envy of all her workmates. What a catch he would be! Or so it seems.
Aunt Maud's cruel words shock Rosie Quest. But they also explain the atmosphere of hostility that surrounds her on the run-down Wirral farm: no wonder her aunt resents having had to take in an illegitimate child, born in the workhouse. It's quite a relief to escape every day to her job as a machinist in Sheraing's garment factory, even though Beatrice Shearing is a demanding employer. But when Rosie catches the eye of Ben Shearing, Beatrice is having none of it.