After their father's heroic death at the hands of the police in an undesignated Slavic country, the remaining Kopoheks settle in England. The money that had accumulated from her husband's English writings is only enough to allow Mrs. Kopchek to buy a derelict house. The narrator is 15 year old Sondra, who is not fazed by the poverty or the hard work of restoring or furnishing the house. She finds the English social climate painful. Their nearest neighbors are the Cranstones, a motherless family, who loudly object to living next door to foreigners. They become the chief suspects when the Kopcheks are persecuted with anonymous notes and threatening messages. It makes a not very convincing picture of a town learning tolerance. What is at first a believable story of family solidarity quickly becomes oversweet as Sondra and her 13 year old brother, Brad, lecture each other with adult severity, continually apologize and make up with self-denunciations. Mama never lectures anybody and a haze of comparative unworthiness hangs over her children. Overheated and overdone, over there.