In the brief golden years of King Edward VII's reign, Rosie McCosh and her three sisters are growing up in an idyllic and eccentric household in Kent, with their 'pals' the Pitt boys on one side of the fence and the Pendennis boys on the other. But their days of childhood innocence and adventure are destined to be followed by the apocalypse that will overwhelm their world as they come to adulthood. For Rosie, the path ahead is full of challenges.
Torn between her love for two young men - one an infantry soldier and one a flying ace - she has to navigate her way through extraordinary times. Can she, and her sisters, build new lives out of the opportunities and devastations that follow the Great War? Louis de Bernieres' magnificent and moving novel follows the lives of an unforgettable cast of characters as the Edwardian age disintegrates into the Great War, and they strike out to seek what happiness can be salvaged from the ruins of the old world.