In 1960s Norfolk, England, 17-year-old Clem Ackroyd lives with his mother and grandmother in a tiny cottage, but his life is transformed when he falls in love with the daughter of a wealthy farmer in a tale that flashes back through the stories of three generations. Simultaneous.
Creating two narratives that create tension and work off one another, author Mal Peet explores a long arc of history, teen sexuality, and class issues in this fraught young adult novel. A British working class kid, 16-year-old Clem Ackroyd has it bad for Frankie Mortimer, the posh daughter of his dad's boss. Set during the Cuban missile crisis, the parallel between the young couple's intense interactions and the Cold War is carefully contrasted. Clem's family history from before WW II is shared, creating a constant of aura of wartime urgency.