Like the rest of the nation, Burracombe is shocked when King George the Sixth dies suddenly in February 1952. But in the midst of their grief, the arrival of a stranger in the village on the very same day goes almost unnoticed. As they move into a new Elizabethan era, the villagers have their own concerns - farmer's daughter Val Tozer needs to find a home before she can marry her sweetheart, Hilary Napier is struggling to come to terms with her new responsibilities, and Stella Simmons is still getting to know the sister she thought she had lost. Old enemies Jacob Prout and Jed Fisher carry on their lifelong feud, Joyce Warren and Constance Bellamy clash yet again and sadness touches at least one of the cottages, while at the village school the children are as lively, as inquisitive and as comical as ever. Jennifer Tucker is searching for a family she hadn't even realised existed. To help her, she enlists the aid of Basil Harvey, the vicar, and gradually, as the village becomes involved in her search, more than one person is led to question their own ideas about families and what they mean.