Willie Beech is evacuated to a tiny English village in the country just before the outbreak of World War II. A lonely and deprived child, he finds himself living with the reclusive, gruff old widower, Thomas Oakley. Although the two find it hard to adjust to their life together at first, they gradually develop a strong, mutual bond. Willie begins to enjoy life and make new friends in the village.
However, everything is thrown into confusion when Willie is suddenly recalled to London by his neglectful and abusive mother. After several weeks with no letter from Willie, Tom Oakley becomes concerned for his welfare and sets out to London in search of him.
This superbly written and deeply moving tale, shows that even the most unlikely people can become exceptional parents.