Tom Oakley is an old widower who has been reclusive since his wife died during childbirth. He lives in a small village called Little Weirwold where the Second World War is just beginning to have a slight effect on all the peaceful inhabitants.
Almost out of the blue, a weak, sickly eight-year-old boy is billeted with Tom. Little William Beech is a frightened illiterate Londoner who was regularly beaten by his religious mother. At first Tom is very nervous about having someone else in his life, but as William settles into and starts to enjoy an idyllic life in the village, a close friendship develops between him and 'Mister Tom'. Six months pass rapidly, and William has learned to read and write, as well as having made a special friend; the outgoing Zach Wrench.
Then William is summoned back to London and his mother, who has had a baby. Mrs Beech is stricter than ever, and is unable to come to terms with this more outspoken and healthy child. She locks him in a cupboard and leaves him with his baby sister. A month later, Tom sets out to find William, and finds him half dead and his baby sister dead. The authorites want William to move into a children's home, but Tom wants William back in his life, and starts a tough battle to rescue him.
This report prepared by Liza Rosette