Ivy Rose Murphy dreams of a better future. For years she has set out daily from the tenements known as `The Lane` to beg for discards from the homes of the wealthy. Her fortunes take a turn for the better, but there are eyes on Ivy and she is vulnerable as she carries her earnings through the dark winter streets. Jem Ryan, who owns the local livery, longs to make Ivy his wife, but she is reluctant to give up her fierce independence. Then a sudden astonishing event turns Ivy's world upside down. A dazzling future beckons and she must decide where her loyalties lie.