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The restrictions of a wartime childhood in in London and subsequent post-war shortages have done little to enrich Timothy's early youth.

But everything changes when his glamorous older sister, Kath, invites him to spend the summer at Heidelberg. Kath, who left home long ago to work for the American army, introduces her sixteen-year-old brother to a lifestyle that is deliriously fast, furious and extravagant.

Dazzled by the indulgent habits of the American forces, but at the same time sensitive to the broken spirits of the German community beneath this sparkling surface, Timothy will find that his summer holiday is in more ways than one an unforgettable rite of passage.

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