When Tilly Thompson, a girl from the canal, is caught stealing a pie from the terrace of The Imperial Hotel, Athelstone, the intervention of Captain Charles Thackery, saves her from prison. With the Captain Tilly glimpses life away from the poverty and hardships of the waterways but his favour stirs up jealousy and hatred among the hotel staff, especially Freddie, the stable boy who harbours desires of his own.
Freddie's pursuit leads Tilly into far greater danger than she could ever have imagined. Tilly battles prejudice, persecution and the hypocrisy of Victorian Society as she tries to leave her past behind and find true happiness.
This is a story of love and loss, lust and passion, injustice and ultimate redemption.