This book surprised me. Never read anything by this author - always looked a bit too twee. But, having read one, that is doing her a disservice. This book follows the first year of young Frankie's life. She doesn't have the best of starts, being an accidental child, conceived on a presumed drunken night out. Her mother has terminal cancer and, as expected fails to survive the cesarean section. Thus Frankie comes into the world motherless. but she does have a father. Noel is one of life's drifters and is in a dead end job and a drunk. But, somehow, Frankie manages to pull him out of himself and he determines to turn life around. in this he is helped by a whole cast of characters in the street. there is a fly in the ointment, and that's the Social worker, Moira, who is portrayed very much as being the enemy - always looking for every slight slip that Noel might make as an excuse to remove the child from his care.Initially I thought this was far too twee. I don't know that communities of this sort really exist any more (not to say that's a good thing), but as the book progressed, it became clear that appearances are sometimes deceptive. Real life things do happen in this community, jobs are lost, true love fizzles and turns sour, children of settled family are nothing of the sort, it all happens. There is something to be said about a child being brought up in a loving, if unconventional household, rather thane being brought up in a conventional family, albeit completely without love, care & affection. And this point was made from several angles. It's a cast of thousands, but they're all somewhat believable. And, I will admit to being reduced to tears by the death. That would be the way to go, if one had to go at all. So, in summary, better than I had expected. Not afraid to dodge reality, even if there is still a sense of things falling into place. It's not a fairytale ending, but you do leave the book thinking that they'll muddle through and that things may well just turn out alright in the end.