Abbot’s Mill Creek is based on Dittisham Creek (above) and Old Mill Creek with its boatyard.
Hattie Wetherall, recently retired from a senior position in the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Society (QARNNS), is staying with her old friend Sarah Farley (whose husband, Nicholas, had the fatal affair with Cassandra recorded in Those Who Serve).
It is Hattie’s intention to buy a property near Sarah’s home for her retirement but when she sees the Mill near Dartmouth she knows it is where she wants to be. Situated at the head of a creek off the River Dart, the property includes the partly converted mill and two cottages. Hattie moves into one of these while decorating the other and overseeing the completion of the mill conversion.
Life in this little backwater, with the boatyard at the mouth of the creek, is far from dull but one of the most poignant aspects of the book (which is contempareous with Those Who Serve) is that having seen the affair between Nick and Cass from Cassandra’s point of view, we now see it from Sarah’s.
One of the minor characters is James Barrington, a newly qualified solicitor who rents one of Hattie’s cottages while working in Dartmouth and, but not in this book, marries the daughter of the owner of the boatyard.