Abandoned by her mother at Victoria Station in London when she is only four, Charlotte "Charlie" Collins is sent to live with her father in Dublin. Now fourteen, Charlie struggles to come to terms with the reasons for her mother's desertion, her father's silence, and the cruelty of her classmates.
"A black, smoking shell stood where our house had been. The barn that'd been near to twice as big as the house was nothing but a head of ashes too. 'Pa!' My voice cracked and floated up into the early morning sky. Eliza crept up behind me and slipped her hand into mine. ‘They're dead, ain't they, Jacob?'"