World War II is over, and a new decade is beginning, but for an East End teenage brother and sister living on the edge of the law, life has been suspended. Sent away to a tuberculosis sanatorium to learn the way of a patient, they find themselves in the company of army and air force officers, a car salesman, a mysterious German woman and an American merchant seaman. They discover that a cure is tantalisingly just out of reach, and only by inciting wholesale rebellion can freedom be snatched.
In the early '70s a glamorous couple known as Evie/Stevie appear out of nowhere on the isolated concrete campus of a new university. To a group of teenagers experimenting with radical ideas they seem blown back from the future, unsettling everything and uncovering covert desires. But the flamboyant self-expression hides deep anxieties. For Adele, with the most to conceal, Evie/Stevie become a lifelong obsession.