Set in Paisley, prior to and during the First World War, the story's characters work closely together in the clothing trade, developing close personal friendships and falling in love. Caitlin Lennox, a talented dress designer of 19, progresses from working in her mother's second-hand clothes shop to being equal partner in a design workshop, with the aid of her wealthy friend and patron, Rose Hamilton, and her mother's backing. However, to house the workshop, Rose has bought the mill her fiance had wanted for his cabinet-making factory. This causes a rift that ends their relationship and it is not until war is declared and the men begin to join up, that the reality of sudden death gives life a new perspective, and relationships are resolved.
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