In 1914, Britain faces a new kind of war. For Edward and Beatrice Hunter, their children, servants and neighbours, life will never be the same again. For David, the eldest, war means a chance to do something noble; but enlisting will break his mother's heart. His sister Diana, nineteen and beautiful, longs for marriage. She has her heart set on Charles Wroughton, son of Earl Wroughton, but Charles will never be allowed to marry a banker's daughter.
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The year is 1915, and the war is raging on.... The war was not 'over by Christmas' after all, and as 1915 begins, the Hunters begin to settle into wartime life. Diana, the eldest Hunter daughter, sees her fiance off to the front but doesn't expect such coldness from her future mother-in-law. David's battalion is almost ready to be sent to the front, but how will Beattie's fragile peace of mind endure?
In 1916, the people are settling down to the business of war. As conscription reaches into every household, Britain turns out men and shells in industrial numbers from army camps and munitions factories up and down the land. Bobby Hunter gains his wings and joins his brother in France. Ethel, the under housemaid, embarks on a quest, and Laura sets out on her biggest adventure yet.