Nine year old Dido skilfully looks after for her depressed mother, Eliza (who we soon learn is her aunt), in a windswept London council tower block. Some weekends she stays with her sort-of step-dad Giles and his newer girlfriend, Julia in the former family home – a fine north London residence.
Down in Cornwall we are introduced to Pearce who took on the family farm, reluctantly, when his father died. His separated sister Molly and her daughter Lucy live in a nearby town. Not one of the pretty ones.
Elizabethan madrigals and Roger Trevescan, a disgraced sixteenth century Cornish courtier, brings everything and everyone together.