The War Comes to Witham Street begins in August 1944. It is the last year of WWII and the women of Witham Street have been given a task: to help two traumatised servicemen, one British and the other American, to rest and recuperate, so they might soon get back to duty. The rest of the novel follows these men, the women who take them in, their neighbours and families, for the months remaining until the end of the war in May 1945.
The yank, a pilot who was the only survivor from his crashed plane, goes to the Dowlands, a couple with a boy of ten. The mother, a beautiful, intelligent woman, forms a deep friendship with him. But for George, her husband, exempted from service because suffering with TB, having a man around who gets on so well with his wife and son is not always easy to comes to terms with.
The British airman is taken in by an older woman who has lost her only son, an early war casualty. It seems natural that she becomes a mother figure for her new guest, but this brings its own problems.
The Brown family have Shirley, a shy, nineteen-year-old girl who is crazily in love with a G.I., soon to be posted overseas. The family's dilemma is to save Shirley from giving too much of her love and life for him, and the consequences they must all bear when they are unable to stop her.
Life in wartime is also seen through the eyes of Jane, a child of six, who, like most of her companions, has her father away in service, and consequently, is at the mercy of her we'll-do-our-best-whatever mother. Jane's mother is only one of many who pour their love, their hopes, their fear, and their ambitions for the future on their hapless children. But Jane has her grandparents who provide the lighter moments of Christmas, concert parties, and home-made entertainment.
As victory is declared, all the families have changed: some, but not all, for the better. They have had their tragedies and their great moments of laughter, hope and despair, but through it all they have gained strength to equip them for a peacetime future.