The marriage of Marcia and Curt Ratheter seemed idyllically happy. As much in love as on their wedding day, nothing could mar their joy. But one fateful day in 1931 brought Marcia's world tumbling about her ears and left her and her two daughters bereft. Barty Bendall had always loved her, he said; and the girls needed a father. Marcia moved to Blackburn with him, where she tried to forget the past. Barty, though, sank into bad ways, tyrannizing the family. In particular he would vent his aggression on Polly, Curt and Marcia's first-born, blonde as an angel but afflicted since birth with an ominous shadow over her health. Even in troubled times, lovely raven-haired Marcia was a fighter. But the news that Curt Ratheter had reappeared would render her the helpless prey of wildly conflicting emotions.