For Judith Dunbar, her first glimpse of Nancherrow, her friend Loveday's beautiful family estate on the Cornish coast, is love at first sight - after the rigours of boarding school it spells luxury. She falls in love, too, with all Loveday's family. They treat Judith as one of them.
With their generosity and kindness, Judith grows from naive girl to confident young woman basking in the warmth of a surrogate family whose flame of love and affection burns brightly. But it is a flame soon to be extinguised in the gathering storm of war.
In the danger and deprivation of the 'forties, those sun-drenched Cornish days seem as distant as a dream. Many of the young people whose carefree laughter echoed round Nancherrow will laugh no more. And Judith herself has far to travel before at last . . . coming home.