For Kate Drake, her family has brought her peace after years of uncertainty. Now, watching her own children grow up, it seems the world is a no less complicated place. But when a secret from the past casts its shadow across four generations of the family, a stubbornly independent woman opens herself to love whilst an older one rediscovers it, and a young boy begins to understand the complexities of adult life.
Thea Tennant, eldest daughter of a wealthy family, yearns to do more with her life. When her beautiful but flighty sister, Dulcie, brings trouble to the family, both Thea and Dulcie are sent to relatives in Austria. But with the onset of war, their lives change beyond recognition. It isn't just the Tennants whose lives have changed: for their parlour maid, Primmy, the war brings opportunities she is determined to take.
Kate Kingsley remembers little of her early childhood before being sent to live as the adopted daughter of Jack and Thea in Kenya. Now 20, she leaves Kenya for a new life in London. But this is 1936 - a time of decadence but also turmoil. Kate confronts personal danger, faces conflicting loyalties, and must make a heart-breaking choice before she can find a kind of freedom.
Vivien Mariner loves her husband and is adored by him in return. So why does she find herself so strongly drawn to John Ashe, the enigmatic stranger who appears in Eadenford, as if from nowhere, the summer after the Great War ends?