Lily Larkin is the youngest of six and the least important member of her talented, argumentative, temperamental family. With their father dead and their mother a stranger to them, she must stay at home and keep house whilst her elder siblings go out to work. As she goes about her daily chores, and minds her ailing grandfather, her head is full of dreams. And she longs for the day she can have a life of her own.
When a fire threatens to destroy the nearby docks, Lily s act of kindness towards a handsome foreigner has disastrous consequences for the whole family. For shortly afterwards they are thrown out of the only home they have ever known and have no choice but to move into two mean rooms above the fire station where Lily s brothers work. Here the family struggles to make ends meet. But just when things might be looking up for them all, Lily makes a terrible error of judgement by going against her eldest brother s wishes. In anger he turns her from the door. Forced onto the streets, Lily wonders if she ll ever see her family again.