Angela O’Rourke is six years old when she is passed over to the care of her aunt and uncle. Angela’s new home is peaceful enough but when she’s 16 her uncle takes to drink. She sets off to train as a nurse in Liverpool. After a disastrous love affair she heads home to Ireland, where she makes an astonishing discovery.
Sisters Chrissie and Grace must overcome many hurdles on their journey to find the happiness they seek. At 18, Chrissie runs away to Ireland to marry the man of her dreams. But life as a housewife isn't what she expected, and she finds herself trapped in an unhappy marriage. When Grace goes to visit Chrissie, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with her sister's husband! Soon all their lives are changed for ever.
Cathie Kinrade is used to hardship. Growing up in a fishing community on the Isle of Man in the 1930s, she sees her da and brothers set sail daily on dangerous seas while her mam struggles to put food on the table. Cathie has little hope of a future, until a chance encounter gives her the opportunity to change her fortunes for ever. Fiercely determined, Cathie leaves for Liverpool. With a lively job as a shop girl, and a firm friend in kind-hearted Julia, Cathie has found her niche. But trouble lies ahead. Cathie's friends fear that she may be set to trust the wrong man with her heart. When tragedy strikes back home, Cathie's already tumultuous life is thrown into turmoil.
When Katherine's father is murdered in the unrest surrounding the dockers' strike, she fears for her life and flees to Liverpool with Ceppi, an emotional orphan. Using her father's money to rent a ramshackle lodging house, Katherine discovers one of her tenants is a murderer.
Born at the turn of the century, Mae Strickland is only a few days old when her mother dies. Her aunt Maggie brings Mae up together with her own children. In spite of Mae's unhappy start, life feels full of promise. Then, as the First World War looms, everything changes. The sisters train as field nurses and as they travel to the front line in the wake of family tragedy, nothing can prepare them for the hardship that lies ahead.
Liverpool, 1901. The Tempest family is barely able to put food on the table. When Florrie falls ill with pneumonia and Arthur is imprisoned after a drunken fight, their 13-year-old daughter Lizzie finds herself parentless. Despite her young age, Lizzie has spirit and determination, and she knows that she must find work to keep herself off the streets. In a stroke of luck, she gets a job in the match factory, and foreman George Rutherford takes her under his wing. A new home with the Rutherfords promises a safe haven, but the years ahead will be far from trouble-free. And when Lizzie gives her heart, how can she be sure she has chosen a better man than her own father?
It is 1907. Liverpool is a bustling and busy city. Sisters Livvie and Amy Goodwin are just 16 and 13 years old when their adored mother dies in childbirth. They are still missing their mum when their father Thomas announces that he is going to marry again. His new bride is Mary Fitzgerald, a girl just a few years older than Livvie. There's more trouble ahead, for Thomas believes that he should make all the important decisions in his daughters' lives, so whether it's joining the Suffragettes or marrying for love, he won't stand for it if they go against his will. But Livvie is determined to ensure that she and her sister will find a way to happiness.
From the moment Henry Percy, the future Earl of Northumberland, first glimpses Anne Boleyn he is captivated and quickly proposes marriage. She sees that Henry Percy's affection is sincere and agrees to marry him. But the lovers are torn apart and exiled to separate ends of the kingdom. Henry remains true to the only woman he will ever love. But he is not the only man to be bewitched by Anne.
When best friends Dee and Jean leave school, it feels like every opportunity awaits them. Then Jean’s father wins the Irish sweepstake and soon Jean's set up her own hairdressing salon, and both girls have fallen for good-looking lads with prospects. But Dee's father discovers a disturbing truth about her fiancé which will tear the family apart.
The Great War is over, and sisters Iris and Rose are adjusting to life in their modest Liverpool home after their brother Charlie has returned from the front. But when their mother sends Rose to the Welsh village of Tregarron to recover from an illness she discovers a new world of possibility. There, she obtains a job as housemaid to the wealthy Rhys-Pritchard family and falls in love with the young but troubled head of house.
Sal Jenkins is always thrilled when her husband Harry returns from sea. As chief steward on the SS Amazonia , he provides well for his family and Sal enjoys the status that his position affords her. Their daughters do not share Sal's excitement - it is only a matter of time until their father's drinking and violence begins.