John Willie Bradley's dream was that his son would one day become a concert pianist. No one else shared his dream, not even Jim, who preferred playing jazz to the classics and who, as Ethel Bradley, his mother said, 'Hasn't got it in him, John Willie.' Jim was easy going. He had no ambition. He was a little piecer at one of Lancashire's cotton mills and might have remained there for the rest of his life but for Alfred Hardcastle, the union boss who thought Jim was made for better things than piecing cotton. Cunard White Star were looking for a first class pianist for their darling ship the Queen Mary and it was Alfred who told Jim about it. Jim auditioned for the position and was offered it. Jim, his wife Pearl and baby were suddenly propelled into the luxury and society of a first class liner bound for New York. This is their story and the story of those they came to know and love.
The great depression, gangsters, movies, jazz and fast ocean travel form the background to this story of people, circumstances and events that slide irrevocably towards the outbreak of world war two. Their struggles, their passions and their fears are written into the fleeting years like a fairy tale amidst the ever increasing spell of evil. This is an amazing story of how their personal dreams and political realities clash head on and are sustained only by their enormous courage and faith in the future and Providence.