Driven from Ireland during the potato famine in 1851, Protestant Victoria MacPherson and Catholic Maeve O’Reilly find themselves thrown together aboard a Manhattan-bound ship. They arrive in New York City with only a small purse of silver and the promise that Maeve’s brother will find them there. But he’s nowhere to be found and a scam artist cons the girls out of their savings, leaving the two destitute in the tenements of Lower Manhattan.
As the women claw their way up from seamstresses earning pennies a day to proprietresses starting their own shop, their success is endangered by the city’s corruption and a disgraceful secret that Victoria has been keeping from Maeve. Jealous rivals, religious prejudice, and the shocking revelation of Victoria’s shameful past threaten to reduce the women to rags. But will their strength, courage, and spirit be enough to help them survive and thrive once again?