England, 1939. Ten-year-old Virginia arrives at Salt Winds, a secluded house on the edge of a marsh, to meet her adoptive parents practical, dependable Clem and glamorous, mercurial Lorna. Her new parents' life is full of secrets and tensions Virginia doesn't understand. Their wealthy neighbor drops by too often, taking an unwholesome interest in the family's affairs. Only Clem offers a true sense of home. War feels far away among the birds and shifting sands until a German fighter plane crashes into the marsh, and Clem ventures out to rescue the airman. What happens next sets into motion a crime so devastating it will haunt Virginia for the rest of her life.