London's Kentish Town in the Thirties and Forties teems with life in every street and alleyway. It is a place where everyone knows everyone else, where lives are interwoven in intricate webs and where feuds are passed down from generation to generation, 'Respectable' families live amicably alongside the poorest, the most unfortunate and most feckless, and loyalties for family and community are strong. While many families yearn to move away from the grimy streets to the fresher climes of Highgate and Hampstead Heath, there are a few faithful who are happy to stay - even through a World War. Such are the Turners, whose ancestors arrived and settled in Kentish Town many years ago.
When young Annie Turner finds a brooch at the back of her mother's wardrobe, she is intrigued. Why does her mother refuse to tell her why she owns this valuable piece of jewellery? Why does she never wear it? In Annie's long and lonely quest to discover the truth about the brooch she gradually unearths secrets that not only alter her perception of the Turner family but also challenges her own sense of identity.
Emma Dally's richly detailed and emotionally absorbing first novel is about the different kinds of love that exist within families - between husband and wife, parent and child, brother and sister, sister and sister. It is a novel about family secrets and how, within families, nothing is kept a secret forever.