Jean Paget has survived World War II as a prisoner of the Japanese in Malaya. After the war she comes into an inheritance that enables her to return to Malaya to repay the villagers who helped her to survive. But her return visit changes her life again, when she discovers that an Australian soldier she thought had died has survived. She goes to Australia in search of him and of the town he described to her. Jean sets out to apply the same determination that helped her to survive the war, to turning the community into 'a town like Alice'. She finds both her soldier and romance.