Forty-five year old Yekaterina Artemovna has a hard life. She lives in a small mining town where she works as a librarian and, like her only friend and colleague, rents a little room in a project. Yekaterina has difficulties making ends meet and sells off some of the library's books illegally in a nearby station. One day, a man with a strong sense of civic duty, wearing a naval uniform, returns one of these books to the library, apparently without recognizing it was Yekaterina who had actually sold him the book. She falls in love with this newcomer and, when he moves in with her, the monotony of her daily life seems over. When her father hands over an apartment to her, it seems the fates are smiling down on her. But this happiness is suddenly brought to an end when her lover discovers her illicit trade in books and leaves her for her friend. Yekaterina can bear it and decides to pursue vengeance.