The British empire was on the verge of revolution and at the centre of events are the Stuart sisters: Mary the Queen, and Anne the Queen-to-be, continually haunted by the memory of their father, James II, whom they have wronged.
Cathie Kinrade is used to hardship. Growing up in a fishing community on the Isle of Man in the 1930s, she sees her da and brothers set sail daily on dangerous seas while her mam struggles to put food on the table. Cathie has little hope of a future, until a chance encounter gives her the opportunity to change her fortunes for ever. Fiercely determined, Cathie leaves for Liverpool. With a lively job as a shop girl, and a firm friend in kind-hearted Julia, Cathie has found her niche. But trouble lies ahead. Cathie's friends fear that she may be set to trust the wrong man with her heart. When tragedy strikes back home, Cathie's already tumultuous life is thrown into turmoil.
Born at the turn of the century, Mae Strickland is only a few days old when her mother dies. Her aunt Maggie brings Mae up together with her own children. In spite of Mae's unhappy start, life feels full of promise. Then, as the First World War looms, everything changes. The sisters train as field nurses and as they travel to the front line in the wake of family tragedy, nothing can prepare them for the hardship that lies ahead.
From the moment Henry Percy, the future Earl of Northumberland, first glimpses Anne Boleyn he is captivated and quickly proposes marriage. She sees that Henry Percy's affection is sincere and agrees to marry him. But the lovers are torn apart and exiled to separate ends of the kingdom. Henry remains true to the only woman he will ever love. But he is not the only man to be bewitched by Anne.