The Old Station House at Brentor is typical although in this case the tracks have been filled in to bring the ground up to the level of the platform.
Thea, the daughter of a widowed clergyman now in her mid twenties, meets George Lampeter. It is love at first sight for both despite George being twenty years her senior. Unfortunately Mark Mainwaring has died of cancer and his widow Felicity (a bold and determined woman) has decided that she will marry George.
George manages to keep his plans to marry Thea secret from Felicity who reacts by doing all she can to undermine his relationship with his new wife. She nearly succeeds but it is Thea’s cousin who, through his future father-in-law, David Porteus (an artist of note) distracts Felicity who falls in love with David. It is to Kate that Felicity turns when she loses David and Kate who, following Felicity’s accidental death, finds her financial worries at an end as the childless Felicity, touched by Kate’s kindness, makes a new will in Kate’s favour.
Meanwhile, one of Thea’s friends, Polly, realizes that her husband is having an affair. Meeting Polly in Exeter, Cassandra invites her to a party. In a daze, Polly accepts, packs for the weekend and follows Cass home across Dartmoor. Oliver (now at University) has wangled a weekend from school for Saul and the two arrive shortly after Polly. Saul is smitten and delights in showing Polly the countryside around.
Harriet (now re-married) is expecting her second child and starts labour late in the evening. It is arranged that Polly will look after their home and young son while Harriet and her husband, Michael, drive to the hospital nearly twenty miles away. It is winter and when snow begins to fall heavily it becomes obvious that Michael will have to spend the night away. Threatened by a prisoner who has escaped from nearby Dartmoor Prison, Polly is at her wits end but help is at hand and, amongst others, it is Saul whose actions ensure the speedy recapture of the murderer.
Throughout the book the parrot Percy, owned by Thea’s great aunt until her death and then by Thea, often holds centre stage. It is drawing cartoons of Percy and weaving stories around her drawings that occupies Thea during the problems with Felicity. Thea is introduced to an agent who soon finds her a publisher and a television company interested in putting Percy on the small screen.