When Laura Page returns to the remote Holderness village of Welwick, it is to try and discover the mystery of her mother Susannah's early life. Now a prosperous businesswoman in Hull, Susannah never speaks of her childhood, when she was brought up with the terrible stigma of bastardy - of being nobody's child.
Susannah's own mother, Mary-Ellen, born into poverty and living in a labourer's cottage, had the misfortune to fall in love with a local landowner's son. She was his one and only great love, but was unable to acknowledge their child and had to watch her growing up in hardship. As the years passed and Laura began to be curious about her mother's past, so too did she become aware of the mystery about her own father.