Marigold Smith, born into the small mining town of Hednesford, is devoted to her family, especially the small and delicate Ivy, for whose accident she blames herself. She is determined to try and make life easier for Ivy and her middle sister, Poppy, as well as her hard-working parents.
When she is given the chance of going into service in Oxford she meets the wealthy and charming Richard Endersby, whose father owns a factory in the Potteries. Despite the differences of class, education, and background they fall in love. Then comes the Great War, and Richard, a qualified pilot, joins the army.
He is reported missing, Marigold's family is struck by tragedy, and she has to make an agonising decision in order to be able to help them. Through her they can escape from poverty and she can build a business to support them all.