Lydia Middleton faces a bright future, secure in the knowledge that her childhood sweetheart, David Drayton, will one day be her husband. Their parents heartily approve of a match between Whitby's foremost ship-owning families. But then Mr Middleton loses his fortune and later his life, and the Draytons reconsider. Lydia's uncle repossesses the family home and she is forced to leave Whitby. Her brother Luke finds a job in the new town of Middlesbrough and Lydia decides to accompany him and make her own way in life. But she vows that when her fortunes have changed she will return to her beloved home and exact a fitting revenge on her uncle. Driven by this desire, Lydia prospers but risks losing the most precious thing of all: the love of David, who has stayed faithful to her throughout their enforced separation. Vengeance or the path of true love - which will Lydia choose?