Like most in London’s 1920s East End, Joan Baldwin has her crosses to bear. Her greatest by far is her husband: a violent drinker and gambler. When he perishes in a fire of his own drunken making, Joan is surprised by her sudden freedom. With the support of her sister, Joan finds a housekeeping job in Kent where, to her delight, her talents at sewing are noticed and encouraged. When her kindly employer dies, leaving her 200 guineas, Joan is able to start her own dressmaking business. Then she meets Eric Roussel, an affluent, slick and charismatic businessman and it looks like happiness will finally be hers. But is he a little too slick to be trusted?