When Rollica Reed is left an orphan at the age of sixteen, a friend of her father's takes her in, much to the dismay of his wife and two older daughters who consider themselves to be the cream of Victorian society. The wife and daughters resent Rollica as an intruder, and try to make her life wretched, humiliating her in front of friends and telling her she is too common to be a lady. The two unmarried daughters are also concerned by Rollica's naturally good looks, and want to cut her off from meeting any of their friends. Rollica soon learns she must not show any sign of weakness if she is to survive. But can she ever forgive?