By Penelope Lively.
When Lorna and Matt meet by chance, they begin, as lovers do, a story with consequences.
Tucked away in their Somerset idyll, Matt and Lorna's happiness is about to be complete.
But the year is 1939 and even Matt and Lorna's remote Somerset cottage and burgeoning happiness is not immune to events on the other side of the Channel.
The war has changed everything, but amid the bombed out buildings of London, Lorna finds a way to begin again.
Molly takes the 'Lit and Phil' by storm and finds a champion.
Molly has been dismissed, but her next job will have far-reaching consequences.
As the winter of discontent gives way to her daughter's A-Level summer, Molly wonders whether the most compelling of life's experiences has passed her by.
For Molly, life begins anew at the age of 43.
But fate still has some tricks to play.
The end of her marriage sends Ruth on a journey to Crete, and to Matt's gravestone.
It is time to take stock and move on.
Fate has one more surprise in store for Ruth as she finally visits the cottage where her mother was born.