1919 in Ashford-in-the-Water, Derbyshire. The Ryan family are adjusting to life in the aftermath of the First World War. Walter has returned home a broken man and so it falls to his son Josh and daughter Emily to do their best to keep their family business as the village candlemakers going.
Josh and Emily are great friends with Thomas 'Trip' Trippet, whose father owns a cutlery manufacturing company in Sheffield, and Amy Clark, daughter of the local blacksmith. Together the foursome roam the hills and dales. Romance blossoms for Josh and Amy while Emily falls in love with Trip but is unsure if the feeling is mutual.
Their lives are changed when Trip goes to learn the family trade in Sheffield. Martha Ryan, determined that her son Josh will go up in the world, uproots her husband and children and moves them to live in Sheffield too. All Josh wants to do is to continue making candles and marry Amy. Moving into a backstreet court in the city is very different lifestyle for all of the Ryan family. But things start to look up when their new neighbour, Louise, helps to find Emily employment as a Buffer Girl.