It is 1939 and Kate Voigt and her father Carl have always been at the heart of Magnolia Square. Then war breaks out and suddenly it feels as though the Voigts – with their German blood – are outcasts in their own community. When Carl is interned, Kate’s only support comes from her best friend Carrie, and her sweetheart Toby, who is a pilot in the RAF. But when Toby is killed, and Carrie suddenly turns against her, Kate finds herself pregnant and very much alone. Late one Christmas Eve she is approached by a wounded sailor looking for lodgings. Like Kate, Leon Emmerson is a lonely misfit and they strike up a rapport. But as their friendship and the war develop, and Kate experiences one traumatic event after another, she wonders if she will ever be a part of Magnolia Square again.