In May 1929 two babies are born on the same day on opposite sides of the world. In Tanners Alley in Bermondsey, Ruby Neal gives birth to a son, Paul. On the edge of a paddy field in Eastern China, a young woman dies giving premature birth to a girl. A travelling trader takes pity and takes the tiny child to the Anglican mission to be cared for. He becomes the child's guardian and names her Mei Li Ching.
Ironmonger Street in 1920, with its ugly tenement blocks and tumbledown houses, is one of the most unsightly turnings in Bermondsey; its residents are hardened to the grim poverty of their lives.In the slum block, Jubilee Dwellings, two sisters - attractive, fun-loving Kate Morgan and the happily married Helen Bartlett - give birth to daughters.…
By the time Paul and Mei Li reach their twenty-first birthdays, they could not have had more different lives. And it is only as a consequence of war that they ever meet. Instantly attracted to each other, they are soon to discover the problems their cultural differences - and family prejudices - will bring.
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