Anne begins a playful but dangerous courtship with shy local heiress Miss Walker, while continuing her efforts to renovate Shibden Hall. However, when Miss Walker confides in her cousin, she is shocked by her reaction and discovers that Anne is not universally liked. The coal mining enterprise brings Anne into conflict with a local magistrate and his brother, and she hatches a plan to turn their underhanded business tactics against them. When a solution to a problem is uncovered, she is driven to confront her own past.
Anne confides in her aunt about her hopes for the future, and is warned that her relationship with Ann could lead her into danger if she is not careful - a possibility that grows more likely as Mrs Priestley begins to suspect the truth. Sam Sowden's son reluctantly takes the law into his own hands as his father's behaviour gets out of control, John Booth is surprised at his own romantic success, Marian grows weary of her sister, and the Rawson brothers step up their efforts to outmanoeuvre Anne in the coal business.
Anne and Ann's passionate affair proves the perfect treatment for Ann's nervous disorder - but a sad homecoming awaits them when they return from York to Halifax, as a bereavement brings secrets to light. Anne steps up her plans to re-open her old coal mines, while Thomas spins a risky web of lies to cover up his father's disappearance.
A widowed vicar arrives in Halifax with the intention of claiming Ann Walker's hand in marriage - and Eliza Priestley resolves to help him succeed in his objective. Anne sets out to prevent the clergyman causing any trouble, but discovers further threats to her relationship in the shape of Ann's personal demons and interfering family. Work continues apace on the transformation of the Lister estate, and a grisly discovery in the pig sty gives Mary Sowden reason to believe that Thomas is lying about exactly how his father disappeared.
Ann's mental health goes into a shocking downward spiral, while her overprotective family gather around her. Anne contemplates travelling alone, but after a call for help, she rushes to Crow Nest and witnesses first hand her lover's devastating breakdown. Aunt Anne and Jeremy do not share Marian's liking for the irritating Mr Abbott, and Thomas' grim secret threatens his relationship with Suzannah Washington. Anne reopens negotiations over the mine, but Samuel suspects there is more to her course of action than she is letting on.
Anne prepares to leave for Europe and put her doomed romance behind her - but she has unfinished business before she departs. She undertakes a daring plan to sink her own pit and expose the Rawsons' industrial-scale theft of the coal on her land. In Scotland, Ann feels increasingly isolated when she discovers that Captain Sutherland is planning to marry her off to his penniless cousin. Thomas Sowden plucks up the courage to ask Mr Washington for his eldest daughter's hand in marriage.
Anne Lister journeys north to Denmark while acting as chaperone to an aristocratic young woman, and finds herself embraced in the royal court. Despite her joyous new life, she remains haunted by her estrangement from her lost love. When bad news reaches her, she faces the prospect of returning to confront the past. Ann Walker makes a bold resolution about her future, while an unexpected visitor threatens to finally expose Thomas Sowden's macabre secret. Sofie Grabol (The Killing) guest stars as the queen of Denmark. Last in the series.