After a devastating fall from high society into dire poverty Nicola Redmond battles to support her mother and herself during the 1890s Depression in Australia. Spurning the "charity" of the man who has claimed her father's estate, Nicola joins the battle for the empowerment of the women slaving in factories under dreadful conditions, or forced by starvation to sell themselves on the streets. When her dearest friend, Rose Basevi, meets a degrading death in a back alley, Nicola vows to avenge her. Denying her growing love for a man she cannot trust, she uses him and his two rivals: a charismatic union organizer, and a cool English detective in charge of the murder investigation. Setting herself up as bait, she plunges deep into the underbelly of the city knowing that one of these three men is stalking her—that one of them is a heartless killer.