Driven from Ireland during the potato famine, Protestant Victoria MacPherson and Catholic Maeve O’Reilly find themselves thrown together aboard a Manhattan-bound ship. After a treacherous journey, they arrive in New York City in 1851, with only a small purse of silver and the promise that Maeve’s brother will find them there. But when he doesn’t show, the girls are quickly conned out of their savings by a smooth-talking scam artist, leaving the two destitute in the tenements of Lower Manhattan.
As the women work their way 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 break their bond and reduce the women to rags. But will their strength, courage, and spirit be enough to help them survive and thrive once again?