In post-war London Viv Pearce, seeing married spiv Reggie, runs a dating bureau with Helen Giniver, who lives with her older lover, authoress Julia Standing. Viv's younger brother Duncan, a tormented homosexual, has been in prison and is sought out by his - straight - ex-cellmate Robert Fraser, who served time as a conscientious objector and is now concerned for the boy's welfare. Viv encounters Kay Langrish, a wealthy, reclusive butch lesbian and for both women this evokes memories of 1944 when Kay was an heroic ambulance driver and Helen was Kay's girlfriend, before Kay introduced her to her ex-lover Julia. Viv had an illegal abortion, funded by Reggie, and, after she needed hospital treatment, Kay saved her from prosecution by claiming she was a married woman who had miscarried. Three years earlier Kay and Julia are still an item and Viv meets unhappily married soldier Reggie on a train. Kay pulls Helen from the wreckage of a bombed house whilst we learn why Duncan was in prison following a suicide pact with the boy he loved. As the scene returns to 1947 there are happier endings for some, not for others but there is still optimism.