Annabel and Jessie Stanton were born into a prosperous family in the small marshland town of Copmarsh. Jessie, who is plain and stolid, marries Albert Freeman, a devout churchman and owner of a thriving local drapery store. Annabel, seeking romance, marries a wealthy London estate agent, playboy, and womanizer. But her romantic dreams are soon shattered when he becomes involved with a local shopkeeper. Meanwhile, pious Albert also is having a clandestine relationship with one of his employees - having dire effects on Jessie.