After losing her beloved family in the Great War, Nell is grateful to marry Stan Hibbert, believing that with him she can recapture the loving family feeling she has lost.
Five years on, she is just another back-street housewife, making every penny do the work of tuppence and performing miracles with scrag-end.
When she discovers that Stan is leading a double-life, she runs away to make a fresh start elsewhere.
Two years later, Nell has carved out a fulfilling new life for herself and her young children in Manchester, where her neighbours believe she is a respectable widow, as do her fellow workers in the garment factory where she is a talented machinist - even her children believe their father is dead. But when a figure from the past turns up, Nell has to face a court case and answer for her actions.
Will the life she has fought for be enough to allow her to keep her children or will her lies mean she will lose them for ever?