When innocence meets corruption, which will triumph? Bullied and kept ignorant of the world by her father, a young woman finds employment with a worldly wise glamour photographer. Both are equally determined to change the other. Who will succeed?
Raised and educated in isolation by the pious Heacham, as financial support and skivvy for his laziness, and nursemaid to her severely brain-damaged younger sister, Faith is naive and innocent. Educated via a censored encyclopaedia, the Bible and a set of Victorian sermons, she is far from dim and quickly builds on her intelligence by reading voraciously once given the chance.
Pressured into working for Leighton, successful local photographer and stud, she slowly falls in love with this basically kind but flawed man. Intrigued by her mix of cleverness and ignorance, he sets about undermining her utter reliance on Heacham’s indoctrination. But Mervyn, his coarse misogynist assistant, hates Faith on principle, taking advantage of her inexperience to terrify her with threats of sexual violence.
Netta, her beautiful youngest sister, returns unexpectedly to her after being estranged. Hungry for attention and exposure, this sexual predator entices Leighton. Faith also discovers her absentee mother, who reveals secrets about Faith’s past that put her through more trials and make her further question Heacham’s beliefs.
In this story of love, bigotry, murder, sex and betrayal, set in northern England during 1976, when a heat-wave seared the land, will Faith’s innocence and honest courage overcome corruption and violence, or will powerful forces outside her control destroy her?