In 1984 two young mothers meet at a toddler group in Birmingham. As their friendship grows, they share with each other the difficulties and secrets in their lives. Joanne is increasingly afraid of her husband. When her mother, Margaret is suddenly rushed into hospital, her family discover that she was evacuated from Birmingham as a child and has spent years avoiding the pain of her childhood. Sooky has already been through one disastrous marriage and is back at home living with her parents. Her mother, Meena, refuses to speak to Sooky. At first her silence seems like a punishment, but Sooky gradually realizes it contains emotions which are far more complicated and that her mother may need her help.