Beautiful, dark-haired Lily is abandoned in a Birmingham slum as a tiny child. With few clues about her identity, she endures a childhood of loneliness and loss. At 18, she applies for a post as nanny with the family of Captain Fairford, a soldier in Ambala, north India and his highly-strung wife, Susan. Lily adores her charge, two-year-old Cosmo, and begins to make a new life for herself in this exotic landscape. But she is unprepared for the pain, betrayal and misunderstandings that await her . . .