Sixteen-year-old Mary Janeway, a home child, is desperate to escape from her rural home child placement and flees to London, Ontario, to find a domestic position. When conditions become unbearable, she moves on, vowing never to relinquish her freedom again.
After she arrives in Hamilton as a young bride, she quickly adapts to the urban conveniences and the marvels of new inventions that include electric sewing machines, sulphur matches, street stoplights, a one-horsepower Brunswick refrigerator, the advent of the zipper, and the beginning of radio. But even the latest technology can’t stop the ravages of disease and other family tragedies.
Mary lives through two world wars, the Spanish Influenza, and the Great Depression. In spite of many hardships, she remains a strong, resilient woman well into her senior years and makes many contributions to Hamilton, the city she calls home.