Set in the 1950s Ireland, twenty-year-old Sarah Nolan leaves her home in Dublin after a series of arguments. She has taken a job in Cork city with the Gazette, a move her parents’ strongly oppose. With her limited budget, she is forced to take unsavoury lodgings where the property owner cannot be trusted. Soon after she settles in, Sarah befriends sixteen-year-old Lucy, who has been left abandoned and pregnant.
Dan Madden is a charming and flirtatious journalist who wins Sarah’s heart. He promises to end his relationship with Ruth, but can Sarah trust him to keep his word?
It is when her editor asks to see her birth certificate that she discovers some long-hidden secrets. Her parents’ behaviour continues to baffle her and her problems with Dan and Lucy multiply.
Will Dan stand by Sarah in her time of need? Will Sarah be able to help Lucy keep her baby? Or, will the secrets destroy Sarah and everything she dreams of for her future.
Sarah glanced towards the far end of the platform as she boarded her train and wondered if her parents would appear and try to drag her back home. Being at odds with the two people she loved most in the world upset her. She hauled her suitcase into an empty compartment.
Sliding the door behind her, she lowered the window and had one last look along the empty platform. The couple she imagined were not the mother and father she had loved and understood all these years, but the man and woman they had become when she had so joyously told them her news. It was difficult for a woman to get into journalism and Sarah found it hard to believe that she’d done it. She hoisted her case onto the overhead rack, and slumped into the nearest seat.
Would they ever forgive her for going off like this? Her parents were the reason that she had stayed in Dublin so long. Then, there was her long-standing friendship with twenty-two year old Derek who worked for the Telegraph Office. He had wished her well, and had tried talking to her father. He wouldn’t listen.
The train began to move, great sobs of steam filled her ears – and her heart, too. She hauled on the leather strap to close the window against smoke and smut. Now, as, she watched the city and the countryside she loved slipping away behind her, she felt overcome with disappointment. This wasn’t how she’d imagined it would be leaving home for the very first time. To be at such odds with her parents was something she had never experienced before. Never.
A job on the Cork Gazette was a dream come true, so why were they so desperate for her to stay in Dublin? She had been shocked to the core by the speed and ferocity the row with her parents had taken, and she was left with no choice but to withdraw her savings from the post office to make this journey. She knew her insecurity and her lack of financial support was going to make it hard to carry on, but she vowed there and then to manage on a shoestring until she received her first pay packet.
Growing up, she’d had many disagreements with them, like the time she wanted to be a girl guide and they wanted her to take up Irish dancing. Thoughts of having her hair in ringlets every week had been a major factor, but she had won them over in the end. Then, when she was fifteen, she had wanted expensive high heels to go ballroom dancing with her friends.
‘Time enough for shoes like that when you’re older,’ her mother had ruled.
But this was different. She was twenty now, and journalism was what she had been trained for. Why weren’t they pleased for her?
Trying not to think about the blazing row, she reached for her handbag. Her mass of chestnut hair fell across her face as she re-read the letter from the editor, Neil Harrington. In spite of everything, a smile brightened her face. As she planned the economies she would make, the click clack of the train caused her eyelids to droop, and she fell asleep.