Queenie Bedford fled her native Blackburn and the bitter knowledge that she and Rick Marsden, the man she loved, could never marry. But in 1965 she returned north again to stand by her friend Sheila Thorogood, imprisoned for running a brothel with her mother Maisie. Though Rick had vowed to find her, Queenie took care that he should not know of her whereabouts.
The magnificent Edwardian house in Blackpool was sadly neglected - but Queenie moved in with the ailing Maisie, and set about transforming it into a sparklingly clean, highly respectable guesthouse. Meanwhile, Queenie was to meet the frail and confused Hannah Jason, locked away years ago for murder, and desperate for news of her long-lost son. As Rick continued his dogged search for Queenie, she set out to find Hannah's son. But both their enquiries threatened to unlock the cage where crucial secrets had long been held captive.