Piers Devine, Earl of Westborough, a veteran of World War 2, struggles after the war to bond with his two older daughters Jane and Maudie and step daughter Scarlett – who were infants at the start of the war. The girls desperately want acknowledgement of his affections, which he fails to give.
As they grow up in the rapidly changing world of the 1950s, they react to the lack of affection in very different ways. Jane becomes the rebel consistently in trouble; Maudie immerses herself in her love of music; Scarlett goes on a secret mission to discover the truth about the hero father she had never known.
Thea, Piers’ wife, is the one constant who desperately tries to hold the family together, but it is a devastating unforeseen event which finally defines the family’s future happiness.