A sweeping tale of life in Sault Ste. Marie from the 1930s through the Second World War. Clara Durling and her teenage daughter, Ivy, move to Sault Ste. Marie in 1932, where Clara is starting a job as head nurse at the local residential school. As Clara adjusts to life in the Soo, she discovers the town is a many-layered society. Clara works with Indigenous children who have been ripped from their communities and now live frightening, lonely lives in a crumbling building. While Clara struggles to deal with the despair at the school, Ivy makes a friend from the working-class Italian community and has a brush with the bootlegging underworld. After high school, Ivy heads to nursing school in Montreal but finds society’s expectations for young women do not foster their self-reliance. As Ivy struggles with sexism and societal norms, she and Clara seek to bring humanity to those living at the margins of society.