It is the Depression and many are out of work, Anna Kerrigan is almost 12years old and accompanies her father on his bagman visits in and around New York. One day things change. Her father, Eddie, goes to meet Dexter Styles, nightclub owner with ties to the mob, and from then on he no longer takes Anna on his journeys. Anna senses that this man, Styles will have a long-term effect on her father and their family.
Anna cannot understand what has happened. The only person she has to confide in is her severely crippled (both in mind and body) sister Lydia. Lydia is unable to do anything for herself and cannot speak. Even so, Anna continues to talk to her and share secrets with her. And one day, Eddie fails to return home leaving behind his wife and two daughters and after a time they consider him dead.
The story moves to WW2 where Anna is working in the Naval Shipyard and one evening she goes to a nightclub and sees Dexter Styles again.
There are three separate storylines in the narrative, shifting from time and place and yet interconnected. This is a story of family life, the relationship between fathers and daughters, and the impact of war particularly on women. We see how easy it is for someone to be caught in a criminal world when families need to be housed and fed and we also see the attraction of this life to some of the young women.
I found this an enthralling read and recommend it. I particularly like a book that teaches me things and the research into women in the naval dockyards during WW2 is amazing.