The only life Dove McKenna has ever known has been one of the open road. Living with her parents and her brother in a show wagon, travelling from town to town, performing for folk happy enough to pay them for their entertainment, whilst dismissing them as 'gippos' and 'thieves' behind their backs. But it is not until after their mother's death that they settle in one place long enough for Dove to really feel her difference. The McKennas set up camp on a patch of barren land just outside Leeds and Dove and Henry finally get the chance to go to school. And though at St Joseph's they encounter prejudice from pupils, teachers and parents, they find friendships too. Dove begins to dream of acceptance and perhaps even a better home life. For, when sober, their father is an amiable enough soul, but when drunk he can be a monster. And Malachy McKenna is drunk more often than not . . .