When Catherine moves from London to a Welsh coastal town, she hopes to continue her research into levels of radioactivity in the environment—and to put some distance between herself and her ex-husband, Jerry. The problem is that Jerry can’t let go and Catherine arrives at Aberystwyth University to find that Jerry has also taken a job there. Catherine’s first reaction is to run away but a lunch stop in a remote village leads to an invitation for Catherine to spend a few nights in the quirky cottage owned by village matriarch, Molly. Falling in love with the cottage—and with Islwyn, Molly’s great nephew—Catherine decides to rent the house on a permanent basis. Soon her hideaway is revealed to be less than ideal when Catherine discovers that effluent runs directly into a local stream. Catherine immediately sets about testing local ground water and trying to discover the extent of the pollution. What she finds leads to a direct confrontation with the villagers who do not appreciate being told what to do by an “incomer.” Jerry sets himself up to debunk of all Catherine’s research and as a result of his meddling, she loses her research post at the university. To her surprise, while Catherine is trying to change the village, she finds that the village is changing her. She realizes that there is genuine economic hardship behind the reluctance of the villagers to update their infrastructure but she also knows that there is an urgent need for them to do so. As Catherine learns to let go of her past and to accept the people of her new community, a tragedy forces the villagers to see that Catherine’s scientific data is not an abstract annoyance that can be ignored but a pressing environmental issue that threatens the health of their children.
Writer: A. E. Gray