Mary Hawthorne’s life unexpectedly ends as her baby’s begins in a war-torn Britain. It is 1941 when John Hawthorne and three daughters, Meg, Patty and Abigail, rally forth on the battlefield of their own shattered lives. The Hawthorne philosophy is that the world does not owe you a living and they each face situations that test their resolve in many different ways. Meg and Patty find their niche in life comparatively easily, but it is Abigail who is most affected by the events of her birth and she goes through life with an inborn, almost obsessive determination to succeed. Surrounded by teenage promiscuity, she makes the bold decision to hang on to her virginity until she finds her true love, a seemingly impossible task in the free-loving 60s. Too trusting and naïve, she faces the serious challenges of bullying at school and then attempted rape at university. Later, in her medical career, sexual harassment, a hasty, unsuitable marriage and a stalking incident all make her even more determined to succeed. Life appears to throw all things hostile at her, but she deals with them in the only way she knows how.
The Hawthornes’ lives are punctuated by what is happening in the world around them and eventually post war years provide them with opportunities and life experiences that mold their characters and make them aware that people are not always what one expects, or respects. Their intimate story reflects the times in which they live, emotionally pulling on heart-strings while providing an entertaining account of life in the forties, fifties and sixties.