At the age of 45, Lucy Henshaw has finally left home. Her decision to go has been reached neither lightly nor suddenly, since her marriage has been broken for some 18 years. However, as the mother of twin sons and a daughter, Lucy has felt it her duty to stay as a couple in the family house she was born in near Bolton, giving her children the security she knows they need. Now that her family is grown, content in the knowledge that she loves them, Lucy decides she is free to leave. She secretly purchases a beautiful house overlooking the Mersey, near Liverpool, and there she plans to start afresh. Within hours, she has met some characters: her new neighbor Moira, who is disabled and dying, and sees Lucy as the ideal new companion for her husband, Richard; Shirley Bishop, built like a battleship and a cleaner extraordinaire, towing her several-inches-shorter husband as a handy gardener behind her; and Dr. David Vincent, who is grieving for the loss of his young son. It is soon apparent that Lucy need have no anxieties about being lonely. It is these new friends, too, who come to Lucy's rescue when her husband Alan, falls ill. Always a wastrel and fraudster who has tried to control her, his illness only seems to offer him another opportunity to complicate Lucy's life all over again.