It is the hottest summer of the twentieth century. In a faraway Devon village hidden in a valley, the world has stopped turning and time is slipping backward. 'This isn't nothing' Alison's grandmother tells her, recalling the electric summer after the war when the earth swallowed lambs. But Alison knows her memory is lying: this is far worse. She thinks that time has stopped altogether, when all she wants is to enter the real world of adulthood. In fact, in the cruel heat of that summer, time is creeping towards her, closing in around the valley.