When twelve-year-old Sara Cordwainer, the unloved child of rich and fashionable parents, sees a ragged girl with a baby in her arms outside her church, she stops to talk to her, pressing her collection money into the girl's icy hand. But from this generous act comes a tragedy which will haunt her for years.
When, years later, Sara meets Brogan, a young Irishman working in England, she feels she has found a friend at last. But Brogan has a secret which he dare tell no one, not even Sara.
And in a Dublin slum, Brogan's little sister Polly is growing up. The only girl in a family of boys, she knows herself to be much loved, but it is not until Sara begins to work at the Salvation Army children's home, Strawberry Fields, that the two girls meet - and Brogan's secret is told at last...
The story reminded me a little of Catherine Cookson's books and Katie Flynn captures life in the early 20s and gives the reader a glimpse into how people struggled with large families and lack of work both in Ireland and England. She compares life of a young Irish family to that of Sara who is both sheltered and privileged. I enjoyed the story but parts are heart wrenching. It's hard to believe that the contrast was so great between the rich and the poor that children died of starvation. This wasn't always because of lack of work but often because of fathers who squandered any earnings on drink rather than feed their family.