Before an influenza epidemic rages through Victorian London, the Shaw children seem blessed. They have a comfortable home, loving parents and a bright future.
Then, in a few short weeks, their world collapses. Both parents and a baby brother are taken by the epidemic, and six heart-broken orphans are forced out of the only home they have ever known into the the horrors of abject poverty.
Rosey, George and Anabel have no choice but to stay with their cruel and greedy Uncle in the slums of Westminster. Angelic Letitia is snatched away from her family by her father's corrupt business partner, and Eliza and Frank are consigned to the workhouse.
Rosey, the eldest, is devastated when she realises that she has no chance of keeping the promise she made to her dying mother: to take care of her brothers and sisters. She and George, starving and browbeaten, are struggling to survive themselves.
In the Westminster Orphans series, we follow Rosey's never-ending effort to find her missing siblings.
We suffer with Rosey, George and Anabel as Rosey tries desperately to carry on her mother's legacy.
We walk in Eliza's shoes while she grows thin and weak in the workhouse, and is then punished for the lies told by spiteful Daphne when the two of them are sent out into domestic service.
We feel Tish's loneliness as she tries to adapt to a house that has everything but love, and then descends into a life of horror just when she thinks she has escaped.
We suffer the bullying and unfair punishment in the workhouse meted out to Frank and his only friend, Ginnie. All they want to do is escape and seek a better, more hopeful life. Instead, they are faced with the most dangerous work they can imagine: long days working in a cotton mill with an owner who cares only how much money he can make. It seems impossible that even worse is to come… yet it does…
But through it all, the six Shaw orphans and their good friend Ginnie keep battling, keep hoping, and desperately hold on to fast-vanishing memories of a life worth living.