Abandoned. Olivia Copley is an orphan. Sent to live with her uncle, the ruthless mine owner Hesley Mexton, she soon discovers that a house ruled by men can not only be desperate: it can be cruel. Humiliated. A new governess, Harriet Trent, offers Olivia a glimpse of hope. But Harriet's past is full of secrets and, alone and without protection, Olivia realises that Hexley Mexton will take full advantage of her vulnerability - despite her governess's protests. Determined. Starved of love, Harriet and Olivia form a bond that helps them to endure their harsh conditions. But, when forced to fight for their freedom, will they survive in the outside world and find the courage to defy the man that seeks to hold them captive?