And a ""lovely man"" is Mary Ann Shaughnessy's ""da"" and the admiration and love in which she bathes him create the answers to her prayers. Housed in the poverty of Mulbattan's Hall (a Tyneside tenement), her family is slowly being beaten down by her da's drinking (Mary Ann stoutly says he is ""sick"") which in turn leads to public disgrace and a threat to his earning power. But Mary Ann's talks with The Holy Family, her confessions to Father Owen, her spite against her venemous grandmother, all lead to her heart's desire, which is the solution for the ""sickness"", a cottage and work on a farm. But not before there has been the shock of her brother's attempted suicide, her mother's desperate decision to break up the family and the jibes of her arch enemy, Sarah Flannagan, to test the eight year old's loyalty -- and make believe. Her defiance and sincerity of belief win wealthy, old Mr. Lord's support and the chance for all of them. A kindly, comfortable tale, this does not however descend into vapid unreality; it maintains an honest appraisal of slum life, vigorous if downtrodden. A Catholic market definitely but not necessarily limited.