July 1914, the eve of the First World War, and fourteen-year-old Alix Gregory is holidaying in France with the wealthy Lanchbury family. She is looking after two-year-old Charlie Lanchbury when he disappears during a family picnic and is never seen again. Once a happy, carefree girl, Alix is blamed for the tragedy and cannot escape from the resulting disintegration of the family. The war ends and Alix tries to pick up the threads of her life. Through her marriage and the birth of her son, Rory, she finds happiness, and through her meeting with the brothers Derry and Jonathan Fox, she finds love. Yet, living in her ancient and beautiful home, Owlscote, she is haunted by the loss of her baby cousin. As the years pass, and as the world descends into the horrors of war once more, the question remains: will Charlie Lanchbury ever be found?