Dorcas Lane is apt to say that all secrets are bound to come out in Candleford and that seems to be the case with Mrs. Macey. She's been living in the village for five years with her son Freddy, who is a bit of a hellion. Her story has always been that her husband is a valet and away traveling. The truth is that her husband, Dan Macey, has been in prison but a letter brings her shocking news that is soon spread to every corner of the village. Caroline Arless has a date in court when she fails to pay for the barrel of beer she bought. With no husband, no money and another baby on the way, few are convinced that she will land anywhere but in debtors' prison.
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