This story set in the late 1700's early 1800's is the story of a poor, convict girl determined to escape a life of depravation and join the ranks of the colonial gentry. From the hold of a prison ship bound for Sydney, Sara is released to become a maid. Stripped of her rags, the now luminous Sara is coveted by a ships officer, Andrew Macleay, whom she soon marries, much to the disapproval of the colonial establishment. Sara's fiercely independent spirit and driving ambition are underrated, however, and she soon gains acceptance among the elite. But when tragedy strikes she is again ostracized and must fight a courageous battle for her freedom and status.