By Emma Blair
Following her husband's death, Minna runs a small boarding house in Torquay and brings up her son, Tim. Tim becomes a journalist for the local paper, struggling to get by-lines and hoping to make it to a national some day. However, the outbreak of the Great War disrupts his life. Tim resists volunteering for the sake of his mother who can't bear to see her only son go to war, but eventually his guilt at not helping his country makes him sign up for the Royal Flying Corps. For two years he escapes death and injury but finally has a breakdown and is sent home. Elyse Davenport, an actress just past her prime, introduces him to the joys of lovemaking, but his true love is Katherine whose mother pressurises her to marry the wealthy and eminently suitable Miles. Following his death in action, Katherine becomes a VAD in France, but Tim and Katherine don't meet up again until peace is declared.
By Emma Blair
Sandy McLean is training to be a doctor to follow in his father's footsteps - indeed, to surpass his father who is just a general practitioner: Sandy is to become a top surgeon. Or so his father insists. Sandy feels he has no choice, though knows he is not a natural and life is becoming miserable as he struggles through the exams. What he really wants to be is an artist. Every spare moment he paints and is especially good at people. He even gets a commission when a loyal pub bartender is retiring. And then a French girl, Sophie, offers to pose for him - which leads to his first love affair and the beginning of his rebellion against his father...He has a row with his father and runs off to Montmartre. Meanwhile, left behind is his sister Laura. Her father believes she should wait about idly for a potential husband to turn up. But she wants to earn a living. She tells her parents she's working voluntarily for an orphan centre, but really she has a job working at the Marie Stopes Clinic - and learns a lot about life! When she gets raped on the way home one night, she is understandably seriously traumatised. And decides to follow her brother to Montmartre...