It's a cold winter's night in 1906 but nothing can dampen the high spirits of Constance Bannerman and her fellow skivvy and best friend Nella. For tomorrow Constance can at last escape her life of drudgery at Doctor Sowerby's home in Newcastle by marrying her handsome sweetheart the prosperous John Edlington.
But Constance's last night of servitude is to end in terror. As a final act of spite Mrs Sowerby throws her out of the house late that evening where she is met by the doctor's dissolute son Gerald. In the front yard, surrounded by freezing fog, Gerald attacks and rapes her.
Distraught and unsure what to do Constance marries John the next day with a heavy heart. She cannot tell John what has happened, for his is a respectable family, and shame will not allow her to reveal the truth to Nella.
But the worst is yet to come for John Edington himself has a shocking secret that will make Constance feel more alone than ever...