It's 1939 in the small English town of Penny Green and events in Poland are about to change lives. Mark Sabre, a writer of school textbooks, has married Mabel "on the rebound", after his real love Nona marries someone else. Just as war is about to break out, Nona returns home with her husband Tony. Mabel is sure she can hold onto Mark, though. But misunderstood good deeds on Mark's part turn life for him upside down when his relationship with a young girl starts tongues wagging. Soon, wartime casualties take their toll in Penny Green as well as on the front, as the death of fighting men affects lives back home.