A family struggles to survive bereavement, bombing and bitter rivalry. Patsy Rushton's brother Barney doesn't know the meaning of hard work, so when their father tragically dies, Patsy has no choice but to save the family's business. Meanwhile, Barney has got his girlfriend pregnant and, feeling trapped, he abandons her and leaves Merseyside altogether. But trouble follows Barney wherever he goes and when he learns of his sister's growing success, he can't help feeling resentful. Why is their mother, Beatrice, so quick to forgive him? Surely, she can't be blind to his faults? As Patsy is to discover, there's something else about Barney that is frightening her mother so much she has never dared to speak of it before.