When lovely Laura Chapman wakes up to find herself destitute in a London workhouse with all her belongings stolen, she cannot imagine how she will ever get over the shame. An orphan newly arrived from India, Laura is at the mercy of Jack Plant, the workhouse overseer, whose intentions are far from honourable. Distraught and penniless, Laura is taken in by the poor by kindly Taylor family and, determined to pay her way, becomes a factory girl at Beresford's Silk Mill where she comes to the attention of Alex Beresford, the talented engineer son of the factory owner. It begins to seem as if love and happiness are still possible for a girl whose life has been blighted by sorrow. Until the day Jack Plant appears to threaten her new-found security by revealing the secret she has tried so hard to keep.