In 1865, Luton in Bedfordshire is famous for manufacturing straw boaters worn everywhere, although times and fashions are changing. Kate Devlin, the eldest of three children, helps her mother, Rose, run the Devlin plait-school at 10 Plaiters Way. The plait produced there is sold to the Stratton Hat Company, and Kate's ambition is to become a hat-maker. Kate is befriended by her brother's employer who has recently purchased Heaven Scent lavender farm. She likes this hardworking young man, and he in turn admires her and it is not long before he declares his love – a love Kate does not return. A family tragedy changes Kate's life, and with the help of the Stratton Hat Company she sets to achieve her ambition, but her journey finds her confused, infatuated and ultimately frightened for her sister's life. Ambition to be the best hat-maker in Luton and the chance of true love are pitted against each other – which will succeed and will Kate achieve both?