Set in 1960s Dublin, The Whipping Club
follows the travails of Marian McKeever, a feisty, young Catholic school teacher, and Ben Ellis, the Jewish journalist with whom she falls in love. Against all odds they plan to marry–until a stunned Marian discovers she’s pregnant. Confused, overwhelmed by the onslaught of objections to their marriage, and believing that she is protecting her future with Ben, Marian decides to hide her pregnancy from him and delivers the baby in secret. Assured that a better life with an American family awaits her infant Adrian, Marian relinquishes him to the nuns of Castleboro Mother Baby Home.
A decade later, Ben and Marian, now wed, raise their ten-year-old daughter, Johanna. Out of the past walks the nurse who delivered Adrian. She confesses to Marian that her young son has not been living in America, but is institutionalized in a notorious Catholic orphanage and there is little hope for his survival. Tormented by guilt that has plagued her throughout her marriage, Marian confronts the truth and reveals this long-buried secret to her family. Putting everything she holds dear at risk, she determines to bring her child home–and in so doing correct the wrongs of her past and challenge a society that chronically serves up children to a corrupt and abusive child care system.