A wedge is driven between sisters Ümran and Umay when they both fall in love with Yıldırım, the handsome young doctor who comes to their village from Istanbul. Ümran sets her heart on him, but Umay steals him away, inspired by dreams of escaping to the city. With this bitter betrayal, ambition tears apart the bonds of sisterhood, sending them on vastly different life journeys.
Hayat, whose name means life, is born of this betrayal and abandoned by her mother Umay, who flees to Istanbul in pursuit of a new life. There she will have another daughter Hayal, which means dream. Back in the village, Ümran is left to bring up Hayat, blotting out her heartache with the duties of motherhood.
Ümran and Hayat eke out an impoverished life in a grim village called Beyciler, in central Anatolia. Her nemesis, the high society beauty Umay Karay, carves out an opulent life with her daughter Hayal amid the glamorous Istanbul jet set. But immortal ties bind these mothers and daughters together. Their paths are destined to cross despite the gulf between their lives.
Hayat is a fan of Umay, whom she knows from the pages of celebrity magazines. Her life is far removed from such glamour, crushed by the dark shadow of cruel Cemal, who she wrongly believes is her father. As his violence spirals, Ümran stabs Cemal in a bid to protect her daughter. The attack leaves Ümran facing life in prison while Hayat is left at the mercy of Cemal.
Hayat’s suffering now begins in earnest as Cemal chains her up in a dark, grim cellar. For a year she suffers dreadful torture. When police rescue her the whole of Turkey cries over her suffering as her story is splashed across national newspapers.
The weight of her dark past now descends on Umay, threatening to shatter the sparkling world she has built for herself. Registered as Hayat’s aunt, Umay is obliged to take back into her life this girl whom she abandoned years ago.
Hayat seeks to fit into aunt Umay’s glamorous life, but Ümran emerges from prison determined to rescue her daughter from this fake world. Living under the same roof for the sake of their children, after years apart, Ümran and Umay are forced to face the pain of past love as Yıldırım enters their lives again.
Unaware that he is Hayat’s father, Yıldırım finds his love for the sisters reignited. Hayat, meanwhile begins falling in love with Volkan, Hayal’s platonic love. With each passing day, Hayat becomes crueler as she embraces her new life. Hayal becomes a victim as Ümran did many years before. With history repeating itself, the sisters and daughters become locked in an endless struggle.