Two children desperately try to keep their family together in a slum in Victorian Bromley-by-Bow. On their mother's death, they are taken to Annie Macpherson's House of Industry leaving their small sister and baby brother with their only relative. After spending the winter and spring in the relative comfort of Macpherson's 'Beehive', they sail for Canada with one of the early parties of children destined for life on Ontario farms. Apprehensive at first, as the years go by they both come to appreciate the fulfilling lives they are able to attain by taking the opportunities offered to them by the people who take them in.
Meticulous research into the living conditions in both London's East End and in Toronto, Guelph and Ontario towns and townships in Halton and Wellington counties and the immigrants' journey provides a very authentic feel to this story, taking readers back to a time when resourceful people began to change the patriarchal society dominated by wealth and privilege.