Young Tilly lives with her widowed mother Olive in a house on Article Row in Holborn, London. Forced to seek lodgers, following the death of her father-in-law, the family are in strife.
And then a meek 17-year-old comes knocking at their door. Agnes was orphaned as a baby, and left to make her own way in the world, abandoned in a basket outside the orphanage. But there's no room at the inn and Olive has already let the rooms to a young nurse Sally and the vivacious Dulcie. Alice, abandoned for the second time in her young life, seeks comfort in the arms of her colleague Ted, a handsome young train driver.
We follow each of these girls' live and uncover the reality of love and loss, set against a backdrop of war.