It is summer 1941, and the country is still at war. In the Devon village of Ashleigh, however, evacuees from the London blitz are living in an atmosphere of rural peacefulness, although Daisy Ricketts of Bermondsey isn't sure if she'll ever get on with carping Mrs Mumford, the subject of whispers because of her husband's mysterious disappearance.
David, the elder son of Tommy and Vi Adams, meets Kate Trimble, a cockney girl from Camberwell who has just arrived in Ashleigh with her aunt. Kate is imaginative and precocious, while David is happy-go-lucky, and as the war is directly affecting the lives of so many other members of the Adams family, Kate and David establish a friendship in the summer sunshine of Devon. But as their friendship develops some exciting undercurrents, an incident occurs which brings home to them the darker intrigues of wartime and provides a devastating shock to everyone.