It is 1939 when fate and an air of cleanliness bring Poppy Brown, a thirteen-year-old evacuee from East London, to the country house of the Carrol family. The reception is rather cold, but Poppy soon makes friends with Guy, the charming son of the house, and his fiancée Amy, who undertakes to pay for her education. Then the Blitz starts and tragedy strikes: a now-orphaned Poppy is sent back to London with what her brother’s unpleasant in-laws describe as “ideas above her station”. Still, our girl is not above “doing her bit”, and she sets out as a hospital cleaner and nurse-in-training, only to find that she cannot forget either Guy (now an RAF fighter pilot) or the place she has grown to call home.
This is a gentle, heart-warming, slightly repetitive coming-of-age story cum romance, in which nothing much happens. Everyday life detail of the era is served in large dollops, and war plays off in the background, mostly through news on the wireless and rationing strictures, while Poppy grows from little cockney to lady – in more ways than one.