1880. Everyday life in London's slums is hard enough for Jane Roberts and her three children, but when her ne'er-do-well husband Bert walks out on his family, times are particularly dark. In the wake of his desertion, Jane longs to regain both her financial independence and her identity by divorcing him, but the path to such freedom is long and fraught with unforeseen obstacles.
With help from a neighbour, a lucky break and fresh opportunities, the road ahead starts to look more promising. But can Jane and her children finally be free of Bert's clutches?