Raised in Stepney, the heart of London's East End, Maggie Riley is the only child of an Irish widower. When she becomes pregnant at the age of fifteen she is delighted, for it means she has captured her beloved Jim Burns. But life is a constant struggle - to bring up her four sons, to cope with a part-time husband, to 'better herself'. And that struggle is set against critical events of the era: the Depression, the Blackshirt marches, the devastation of World War II and its aftermath. With the skill of a natural storyteller, Lena Kennedy makes us share Maggie's life: we experience Maggie's hardships as she confronts poverty; we feel her grief when she sends her children off during the evacuation; we sympathise with her loneliness through the long years of the war; we share the impressions of her first trip abroad to South Africa and Australia. We rejoice in her triumphs and feel the sorrow of her tragedies.