Liverpool, 1936. Molly Penelope Hardwick has been abandoned in Haisborough Orphanage. Desperate to discover her background, she befriends another orphan, Lenny Smith. Together they sneak out to roam the city of Liverpool, and hatch plans for their escape. But when Molly is forced to leave the orphanage, Lenny has no idea where she’s gone. And when war is declared, he soon forgets about his childhood best pal to focus on his posting with the RAF in Scrimpton.
Maddy lives with her grandmother in a tumbledown farmhouse in the Yorkshire Dales. The house has been in the family for generations, but her grandmother is struggling to cope. She is determined that no matter what happens, the two of them will not be forced into the workhouse. Though life is tough, Maddy manages to gain a scholarship to the local school. As war is declared, Maddy and her friends join up, leaving the beautiful Dales for the dangerous work of manning the Ack Ack sites.
As the worst storm of the century breaks across the Northwest, sweeping through Snowdonia and across the Mersey to burst upon Liverpool, two women, Molly and Ellen, give birth to girls in a Liverpool maternity hospital. Molly lives on a hill farm in Snowdonia while Ellen is married to Sam O'Mara, a dock worker who is quicker with a punch than a kiss. After one punch too many, Ellen throws her husband out and eventually leaves Liverpool to live with Molly. Ellen and her daughter throw themselves into their new life with enthusiasm, unaware that they are being watched by someone hiding in a ruined cottage.
A few days before Christmas Tess Williams rushes into Albert Payne's tobacconist shop, with two boys in hot pursuit, saying she's a thief. Albert chases the boys away, and though Tess does not realise it, this incident changes her life. Tess lives with her grandmother, Edie, in a small flat on Heyworth Street. She has recently returned from Bell Farm, where she was evacuated during the war. When the handsome Snowy White comes to her rescue she thinks her troubles are over, and returns to Bell Farm for a working holiday.
Nell Whitaker is 15 when war breaks out and her mother sends her to live with her Auntie Kath in a remote farmhouse on Anglesey. At first Nell hates it, but her friendship with Bryn, who works on the farm whilst waiting for his call-up papers, helps a lot. So when he leaves to join his ship, Nell is counting the days to his return. But her heart is broken when news reaches her that Bryn’s ship has been bombed and he has been drowned. Determined to bury her grief in hard work, Nell finds herself growing closer to Auntie Kath.
Marianne seems to have everything. She is married to a handsome Naval officer, Neil Sheridan. They have a daughter, Libby, and a beautiful home near Prince's Park in Liverpool. When war comes, Marianne takes war work and moves in with her mother, Mrs Wainwright, and younger sister. Neil disapproves because the Wainwrights live close to the docks, which are bound to be a bombing target, but Marianne is firm.
Miranda Lovage and her mother have a blazing row when Arabella tells her daughter that she can no longer afford their present lifestyle. Miranda goes to bed angry and upset. When she awakes next morning, however, it is to find that her mother has disappeared. Miranda raises the alarm but everyone is baffled, and when searches fail to discover Arabella's whereabouts, Miranda is forced to live with her Aunt Vi and cousin Beth, who resent her presence and treat her badly.
Imogen, Rita and Debby all missed the original evacuation and now the authorities are finding it difficult to place them. When Auntie and her niece, Jill, who run the Canary and Linnet Public House, offer to take them in, the billeting officer is greatly relieved. The countryside is heaven to the three little townies, especially after they meet Woody and Josh. They find that by climbing to the top of a tree they are able to watch the comings and goings of the young fighter pilots.
"A time to say goodbye"
Liverpool, 1938. It’s Christmas in the Courts, and single mother Rosheen Clarke and her mischievous twin daughters, April and May, have no idea of the cataclysmic events which will soon overtake them. When war is declared, April and May are evacuated to the countryside, and Rosheen joins the WAAF, where she befriends fellow Liverpudlian Cassie Valentine. While Rosheen worries about what trouble the twins will cause next, Cassie is fighting her love for her childhood friend, Andy.
Jimmy Trewin and his little sister are devastated by their mother's death and horrified to find themselves entrusted to the care of a hated neighbour, Mrs Huxtable. They hope their father will rescue them when his ship comes into port but this does not happen. When Cyril Huxtable accuses them of theft and threatens a terrible revenge, they decide to leave Liverpool and try to find their mother's family in Wales.
"this narrator makes every book enjoyable."
Hetty Gilbert is a canal child with no permanent address, so when she needs to join the library, she cannot do so. Miss Preece dislikes children, but Hetty's longing for books touches a chord and she stretches the rules to help her. Soon, Hetty's chief desire is to become a librarian like her friend. But with war on the horizon, their lives will never be the same.
Along a blacked-out wartime street a girl is scurrying, a basket on one arm. As sirens begin and bombs crash down, she is filled with panic and, with a heavy heart, abandons her burden in a sheltered doorway, meaning to return later. Even as she disappears in the resulting chaos, the bundle in the basket begins to wail.
Jess and Nancy are nurses in France during the Great War. They have much in common for both have lost their lovers in the trenches, so when the war is over and they return to Liverpool, their future seems bleak.
When Daisy's family lose their croft on the Connemara coast, her Aunt Jane, housekeeper to Dr. and Mrs Venables, offers to take Daisy back to Liverpool.
Dana and Caitlin meet on the ferry from Ireland, both in search of new lives in Liverpool, having left their secrets behind in Ireland. But Dana is ambitious, and when the opportunity comes to own their own tearoom she persuades her friend to join her. No one is willing to rent property to a couple of girls, so when Caitlin’s new man-friend says he’ll back them, they are delighted. Soon the tearoom is thriving.
"Not as captivating"
Laura Collins is struggling to make a good life for her daughters, Tess and Tina. So when she is offered a good job, with accommodation, she is delighted. Life is very different for the Brewsters who live on Manor Farm in Herefordshire. Danny plans to marry one day so that he can take over the farm, whilst his cousin, Phil, longs to escape the world of farming as soon as possible. War changes all their plans.
"A week storey, somewhat boring."
Claudia Muldoon and her sister, Jenny, live with their parents and their gran in her house in Blodwen Street. Both parents have good jobs and the family assume they are settled for life, but then Grandpa Muldoon has a seizure and begs his son to return to Ireland. In Ireland the Muldoons flourish and the girls love the freedom of their new life, though as they grow up, disadvantages become clear. Claudia has to find work, so both sisters return to Liverpool and to their old pal Danny, who welcomes them back with delight.
"I'll keep Katie Flynn on my radar for future!"
It is the autumn of 1945 and identical twins Joy and Gillian Lawrence are on their way home to Liverpool, having been evacuated to Devonshire five years earlier. Their mother has been killed in the blitz but the girls hope that with their beloved father’s help they will be able to manage. All goes well until there is a terrible accident and Joy loses her sight. At first she is bitter and resentful whilst Gillian is racked with guilt.
Addy and Prue Fairweather live with their widowed mother Nell, in a flat above her shop. Addy is plain and always in trouble whereas Prue is as angelic as her looks imply. To make matters worse, Nell makes no secret of her preference for the younger girl, increasing Addy's jealousy. On the other side of the coin, Giles Frobisher and his twin sister, Gillian, live in a crumbling mansion in Devon. The family have lost most of their money in the Depression, so Giles joins the Fleet Air Arm.
Lottie and her mother, Louella, share a house in Victoria Court with Mr Magic and his son, Baz. Lottie is a child star, dancing and singing at the Gaiety Theatre; Louella acts as Max Magic's assistant. But a road accident causes Lottie to lose her memory. Then Lottie meets a boy with golden-brown eyes who calls her "Sassy" and accuses her of running away. It is after this meeting that the dreams start, dreams of another life, almost another world.