The year is 1853 in the remote village of Kilcoo, County Down, Ireland. Famine, poverty, and disease have plagued the country. The McCrickard family is just getting by. Five-year-old Bridget nearly loses her mother to childbirth when her youngest sister, Maggie, is born. While her mother recovers, a special bond forms between her and Maggie. A child herself, Bridget rises to the challenges of cooking, cleaning, and tending to the wee ones.
Fifteen years later, the McCrickard farm is struggling, and James McCrickard calls upon his daughters to help save the family Farm. Bridget sets off to England in search of work and a fair wage. There she meets and marries Samuel McChesney, a fine Irishman who takes Bridget on the biggest adventure of all—a journey to America.
They set their sights on the burgeoning steel city of Pittsburgh and the growing mill town of Sharpsburg along the Allegheny River. With Scarlet fever ravaging England and no children of their own, they agree to take their nephew with them.
Bridget’s sisters soon arrive in America. They are blessed with children and cursed with loss. Together, the sisters support one another through birth, sickness, death, discrimination, and abandonment as they build their lives to become part of the American fabric.