Mouse de Bruin is under siege. Without a voice since the age of six, she is trying to work things out about the world. She and her mother have moved into a rented Pennine farmhouse in which reminders of the man who lived there previously, William Crosby, lie all around her. Fighting to hold the outside world at bay, Mouse becomes increasingly drawn to William, a man who seems to have been haunted by secrets. As Mouse's investigations lead her towards some of the people who knew him, she unearths a collection of letters about William's experience as a young officer in the chaotic final weeks of the war. But why, as Mouse begins to uncover the mysteries of William's past life, is she so keen to eliminate all traces of her own?