Lilly and Ceily Carney are only seven and twelve when their mother is cruelly taken from them, leaving them at the mercy of the Church and the authorities.
This is a terrifying prospect in 1950s Dublin, where it is likely that the girls will end up in one of Ireland's notorious Magdalen laundries - a fate they are determined to escape. When Father Flitters and the `Cruelty' people arrive to take the children into care, Lilly and Ceily resist, and a riot breaks out.
The girls are helped by kind Mister Mullins and his daughter Delia, but events lead to further tragedy and Lilly is left to fend for herself on the dangerous streets.
Heartbroken, hungry and vulnerable, she looks like easy prey and it seems there will be no safe haven for her to find.