Living on the edge of the beautiful Norfolk Broads with her father, the only ripple in Tess Delamere's calm life is the disturbing dream about her dead mother which haunts her. She yearns to know more but the arrival of a new stepmother heralds the end of Tess's hopes that her father might divulge the past. As she grows up, Tess slowly starts to put together the pieces herself. But the outbreak of war brings tragedy and upheaval, changing Tess's priorities. Mal Chandler has travelled the length and breadth of Australia with his feckless father and weary mother. Now, the war brings Mal to England as a pilot for the RAF - and into Tess's world.