There were only four houses in Paradise Lane, and young Sally Crumpsall lived at No.1. If it hadn't been for the kindly inhabitants of the Lane she would have been even more neglected than she was, for with a father too ill to care for her, and a mother who was to abandon her, she led a ragged and lonely existence. When - finally - both mother and father had gone, then the Lane moved in and, with the help of Ivy, Sally's old and stubbornly aggressive grandmother, they decided to raise Sally as best they could.
But Paradise Lane was built in the shadow of Paradise Mill - and Andrew Worthington, owner of the mill, loomed menacingly over the lives of everyone about him. A corrupt, evil and greedy man, he had totally destroyed his own family, and soon his venom was directed towards Ivy, her friends in Paradise Lane, and finally threatened the very existence of young Sally.
As events moved towards a violent and terrible climax, only the combined efforts of all who loved the young girl were able to save her.