The Todd family are strangers to city life when they move into a flat on the Scotland Road; their previous home was a canal barge. Harry gets a job as warehouse manager and his wife, Martha, works in a grocer's shop, whilst Seraphina trains as a teacher, Angela works in Bunney's Department Store and young Evie starts at regular school. Then circumstances change and Seraphina takes a job as a nippy in Lyon's Corner House. Customers vie for her favours, including an old friend, Toby. When war is declared the older girls join up, leaving Evie and Martha to cope with rationing, shortages, and the terrible raids on Liverpool, which devastate the city. Meanwhile, Toby is a Japanese POW, working on the infamous Burma railway and dreaming of Seraphina ...