Into the City of Liverpool in 1876, torn by extremes of poverty and riches created by the Industrial Revolution and booming trade, Catherine Cattell was born. In 1888, she was admitted into the Liverpool Workhouse, together with her little brothers Billy and Alfie. Broken by the death of her mother, and the mysterious disappearance of her father John, Catherine begins a relentless battle to re-unite the shattered family. With the aid of faithful friends Bernadette and Colleen, and cousin Maude she finds the strength to survive the torturous workhouse regime, amidst rumours that her father has sailed to America on a ship called The Liverpool Lady. Beyond the workhouse the search for John continues, while Catherine works for Molly in her hat shop and Billy is lost at sea.

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