Young Cissie McGregor flees to Dundee with her stepmother Phoebe after her abusive, drunken father has destroyed their family. There, for a while, she finds happiness - with Bertram Dickson, son of the wealthy mill-owner who is Cissie's and Phoebe's employer. But, too late, she finds Bertram has not married her for love. After she bears him the son they've yearned for, he takes the first excuse to throw her out on the streets - keeping her beloved child. Cissie has known the worst before. She will survive and she will win through. But while she builds up her own business and fights for the return of her son, she must finally confront the consequences of those events long ago in Aberdeen when her childhood innocence was shattered...
Waters of the Heart