Two girls are brought together under the worst of circumstances: a prison ship taking them from London to 'parts beyond the sea'.
Miriam is a Romany girl drawn from freedom in the hills of the North-West to the city to eke a living playing her tin-whistle in a place where her people are despised. When her mother dies - from cholera, the 'gypsy disease' - she's caught breaking-and-entering and sentenced to transportation.
Rose has been brought up to expect more, but when her husband dies and her father is sent down for illegal slave-trading, she's separated from her children and forced to take a governess's job. When she's caught stealing, the judge shows no mercy.
Surviving - just - an appalling voyage, the two arrive just after Christmas into the blinding sun of the strange new island: Van Dieman's Land. Here they are sent to work in a nursery, where women of ill-repute give birth before being sent for correction. The nursery is run by a corrupt, debauched Reverend and his idealistic son, who soon takes a fancy to Miriam. But Rose, her best friend and close confidant, watches jealously and makes plans to reverse their fortunes.
The Night Flower takes the reader on a thrilling Dickensian adventure through the dark side of our penal history to a Tasmanian frontier town where anything could happen and morality is made by monsters.