Michael Stone was once a famous author. That was before he went to prison. Now, just released, he needs to get his bearings. Weighed down by failure and despair, Belmaray seems to offer him a quiet rural escape from the past. In the dawning beauty of that lovely Devon spring he finds new happiness and peace. It is through John Wentworth's characteristic kindness that Michael first meets the vicarage family: John, a country vicar far less ineffectual than he believes himself to be, his inexplicably discontented wife Daphne, and their three daughters. Harriet, John's old nanny, deals impatiently with a world to which she cannot actively contribute. And at the grim little school in Silverbridge, facing life with the zest of a born fighter, is red-haired Mary O'Hara . . .