In the spring of 1954, young George West, completing his National Service, first sees 17- year-old Josella Grace, daughter of his regiment’s retired colonel. He sees her riding over the Dorset Downs and, captivated by her spirit, George falls passionately in love.
But beneath her cheerful frankness, there is a well of reserve that he senses but does not understand. Over the following decade, Josella wanders as the fancy takes her, glorying in her freedom. But the years gradually reveal to George that the colonel’s daughter bears a secret so terrible she cannot escape its cold shadow. Josella’s freedom is really a cage, and only George can release her from it – if she will let him.