It is 1920 in the Derbyshire dales. The Ryan family are adjusting to life now that the war is over. Walter has returned home a broken man and so it falls to his son and daughter, Josh and Emily, to keep the family candle-making business going.
The Ryan children grew up with Amy Clark, daughter of the village blacksmith, and Thomas 'Trip' Trippett, whose father owns a cutlery business in Sheffield. Romance blossoms for Josh and Amy while Emily falls in love with Trip, but she is unsure if the feeling is mutual. Martha Ryan is fiercely ambitious for her son and so she uproots her family to Sheffield, but all Josh wants is to continue the family business and marry Amy. As the Ryans do their best to adapt to city life, their friendly neighbour, Lizzie, helps Emily find employment as
a Buffer Girl polishing cutlery at a local factory.
It turns out that it is Emily who is best equipped to forge a career but, as time goes on, problems and even dangers arise that the Ryan family could not possibly have foreseen.