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In the final volume of the Northrop Hall trilogy, the Crawley children are living with their mother in the village of Netherby, safely away from Gradby, an industrial town where bombs are expected to fall. Their father, involved in war work in London, is an infrequent visitor.

Remote from the war, loving the freedom of living in the country, the children's life seems in some ways idyllic until a tragic and inexplicable accident shatters the family.

As the children grow up they come to realise that their parents' marriage is unhappy, that each would be better living apart from the other and that their loving father will never be happy until he is free of his bitter and censorious wife. But in those early, post-war years the law makes his divorce impossible.

His children all resolve to try to help him, but as Vicky grows up it becomes clear that she resembles her grandmother, Selina, not only in her beautiful looks, but also in her treacherous and malicious ways. Debbie is overawed by her. It is left to the youngest daughter, Felicity, to fight on their father's behalf. A determined young woman she embarks on a campaign which ultimately leads her back to Northrop.

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