Alison Grant is just five when her father is sent to prison for murder. Her mother blackens his character and when she's taunted at school for being a jailbird's daughter she feels ashamed of him.
Then Doreen Grant abandons Alison and the little girl goes to live with her grandmother, the housekeeper at Bellhanger House. And when she becomes friends with the owner's nephew, she tells him her mother is dead and her father is a ship's captain.
It is the beginning of a new life of betrayal and deception, which continues when Alison leaves Bellhanger House after her grandmother's death. She begins to dream of owning a chain of cafes and becoming a lady.
But her family's shaming secret will come back to haunt her once more.
'A serious challenge for the crown vacated by Catherine Cookson.' Sunderland Echo