Sent to the workhouse as a child, all Ella Hathaway can remember is a voice whispering, `Dearie, promise you will never forget what you saw. Your Ma was killed deliberate . . . and someone oughter pay for it.' When young, wealthy spinster Letitia Fairchild witnesses Ella being ill-treated, she takes her in as a scullery maid. But as Ella grows up, she is determined to find the truth about her mother's tragic death and appeals to Letitia for help, revealing her only personal possession, a black silk purse. Intrigued, Letitia agrees to begin a quest to solve the mystery of Ella's past. But there are astonishing and dramatic consequences.