The Grey children are taken to France by their mother to visit the battlefields of WW1, in the hope that it will make them less selfish. However, Mry Grey is taken ill on the journey and they arrive at the hotel Les Oeilletes,bewildered and frightened, with their mother barely conscious. They are befriended by Eliot, a charming and enigmatic Englishman staying at the hotel, who sorts everything out for them. With their mother in hospital, the children have freedom to explore and to get to know the people at the hotel, the proprietor, Mamzele Zizzi, a beautiful but slightly haggard woman who is clearly besotted with Eliot, the grim, forbidding Madame Corbet, who loathes him, and the rest of the staff. They make friends with Paul, a wretched overworked orphan who slaves in the kitchens, but dreams of one day owning a lorry. The story is narrated by Cecil, thirteen years old, who observes everything, especially the growing attraction between Joss, her exquisitely lovely elder sister, and Eliot. But who is Eliot exactly, and what is he up to? The children soak up the strangeness of France, stuff themselves with the greengages in the orchard, and watch passion smoulder as Eliot and Joss grow more wrapped up in each other, and Mamzelle Zizi simmers with jealous rage. Places and people are described so vivivdly you can see them, you can taste the greengages and smell the chocolate in the pattisserie. You can feel the children's wonder, transported from their dull English suburbia to this enchanting and dangerous world. The story begins to take on a darker, grimmer tone as the idyll with Eliot ends abruptly when Mamzelle Zizzi explodes with jealous fury. The children attempt to retreat from the scary grownup world to their private childhood realm, but it seems it is too late. and Eliot's behaviour becomes even more mysterious. This thrilling, poignant, enchanting story is based on real experiences in Rumer Godden's own youth, it is an unforgettable book.