Six feet two inches, blond-haired and blue-eyed – Charlie Stoker is the handsome, highly principled son of a dead father whom he revered and a deeply religious Catholic mother. In the dark economic atmosphere of 1931, Stephen Collick, his late father’s friend and his mother’s benefactor, offers twenty-year-old Charlie the opportunity to build a commercial career in London’s East End. Charlie, already committed by his inbred sense of duty to life in a loveless marriage, soon becomes popular and successful. His remarkable ability to win friends without ever becoming too personally involved enables him to establish a wide circle of admiring customers and colleagues. Charlie is always prepared to help solve their problems.
As a lifestyle, this works. That is, until he meets Sally Cutter in 1936. For the first time in his life, Charlie discovers true love. The world continues to become a darker place and the growing menace of Hitler’s Nazi Party in Europe is echoed by Moseley’s anti-Semitic Fascists marching through Cable Street. Charlie watches helplessly as Sally’s life spins out of control.
With the threat of war ever nearer, the upright Charlie carefully devises a scheme to secure Sally’s future. But he is surprised when Sally resets the scheme on her own terms.