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Nell Woodward and Gussie Merton make unlikely friends – one a young married woman and the other a lonely elderly lady. Nell’s husband, John, is an estate agent fresh from the Navy, but he is ignorant of the outside world and, as others abandon the collapsing property market, he gets in deeper…

It is at Nethercombe, the home of Gussie’s nephew, Henry, that a refuge is found. Henry has developed and sold a cluster of cottages, known as The Courtyard, and the people who buy them form a bond of friendship that embraces Nell and Gussie. But it is going to take all their strength to withstand the crises ahead…