Increasingly desperate poverty after her beloved father's suicide forces a crisis for Callista Stanford, for vicious rent collector Oswin Slade will accept only the girl's body in payment for the rent due. Repulsed by his advances, Callista postpones the evil day until it is too late. Homeless and destitute, Callista finds refuge with Abigail and Daniel Roberts, a kindly couple, potters by trade. Taught by her father to appreciate beauty, Callista proves to have a feeling for the clay and with Daniel's help comes to be mistress of the Leabrook Pottery. But there is no happy ending yet; an unseen enemy, a depraved woman, lurks in the shadows, intent on harm to the pauper's child.