Scarborough, 1880. Jeannie spends her days watching the harbour girls - mending nets, gutting herring - and waiting for Ethan Wharton to come in on his father's fishing smack. Jeannie had always expected to marry the loyal and dependable Ethan. But then she meets Harry - a stranger who has come to visit from Hull for the day - and she falls for him. When Jeannie finds herself pregnant and Harry breaks his promise to come back for her, she finds herself isolated. She and her child move to Hull where her life is touched by illness, tragedy and poverty. She longs for the simpler times of her past, and wonders if she will ever find someone who will truly love her - and if Ethan will ever forgive her...