When Alexandra Stamford goes to stay with her Millington cousins at Knighton Hall she knows nothing about the handsome stable lad they have cruelly nicknamed 'the oik'', nor is she destined to meet him until he is rich and successful. If Tom O'Brien is a servant, Alexandra herself is very much the poor relation, while the daughters of the house have beauty, status and wealth. Shortly after Alexandra's return home, her father re-marries. No longer wanted, Alexandra is forced to become a maid-of-all-work for a Mrs Smithers who lives in a grand Regency house in the seaside town of Deanford. Here she rapidly makes her mark among the impoverished ladies of the town, arranging romantic luncheons where they can meet wealthy widowers in comfort. It is through one of these occasions that handsome, funny Bob Atkins meets and falls in love with Alexandra.Despite her commitment to Bob, Alexandra is determined to make a success of her new life. Meanwhile Tom O'Brien meets and falls for the beautiful Lady Florazel Compton who introduces him to the sophistications of 1950s London. As Bob is conscripted for National Service, Alexandra plans her future, and in doing so discovers the awful circumstances of her birth. Tragedy strikes, and it is only when Tom returns from New York to search out his old friend Bob Atkins' fiancee that Alexandra's life appears about to be truly transformed. But the past seems destined to wreck the happiness of the present, as the glamorous Lady Florazel Compton is determined to re-capture her former love, destroying the magic hour of Tom's and Alexandra's meeting.