Major Ernest Pettigrew, 68, a despondent widower, lives in a rural English village. He has one son, Roger, who is self-important, indulged and thoughtless. The Major deplores the lack of manners in the modern age. Roger, who works as a London banker, is obsessed with success and shuns his father’s Britain. The story begins when the Major answers the door in shock having just heard of his brother’s death. He’s so upset he doesn’t realize he’s wearing his wife’s house coat. The woman at the door, Mrs. Ali, 58, a widow a of Pakistani origin, pretends not to notice and makes tea. They bond when she describes her nephew who has many traits like the Major’s son. A late-in-life romance blossoms between the two despite racial prejudice. People in the village call Mrs. Ali “that Pakistani woman” and act like she’s a foreigner even though she was born in England. In the end, the Major must decide between society, and the woman he loves. He must make his last stand.