When Kristina's parents separate just before the beginning of the Second World War, she is brought up by her easy-going father and an adoring West Indian nanny in a beautiful and remote part of Trinidad. Here, she enjoys much freedom and is encouraged to ask questions and voice her own opinions. At the age of thirteen, however, this idyllic life changes dramatically. Her mother takes charge of her and she is sent to the famous Dunbar Academy, a highly academic but restrictive girls' boarding school in Bristol. Kristina finds herself having to conform to rigid rules. The word 'sex' is taboo, and any attempt to contact boy friends or to form close friendships is regarded with hostile disapproval. But Kristina is not a girl to be easily trodden underfoot, and soon battle is joined. Will she be forced to turn into a dutiful and ladylike Dunbar pupil? Or will she go her own way and be herself - Kristina?