Every July, the lucky owners of Cornish holiday homes set off for their annual break. They close up their desirable semis in smartish London suburbs - having turned off the Aga and turned on the burglar alarm - and look forward to a carefree, restful, somehow more fulfilling summer.
Clare is more than usually ready for her holiday. Her daughter, Miranda, is hitting adolescence bigtime, and her husband Jack is harbouring unsettling thoughts of a change in lifestyle. No wonder that Clare is contemplating a bit of extra-marital adventure, possibly with Eliot, the successful, heavy-drinking author in the adjoining holiday property.
Unexpected disasters occur, revelations are made and, as the summer ends, real life will never be quite the same again.