In a small town somewhere in the middle of England, the aftermath of the Second World War brings change. For ambitious industrialist Charles Freeman, it brings new opportunities and marriage to Mary. He buys the big house on the hill to cement their union and nail his aspirations to the future.
In quick succession, three sons and a daughter bring life to the big house and, with it, the seeds of joy and tragedy: Simon, large and ebullient like his father, follows in his footsteps into the business; James becomes a photographer and proceeds to document the town; Robert, wilful and self-assured, submerges himself in the darker side of life; and Alice, a dippy individualist who is almost transformed into a picture of convention when she succumbs to the efficient attentions of Harry Singh, grocer's boy turned property entrepreneur. Charles' business grows in direct proportion to his girth and becomes synonymous with the town's fortunes as Britain claws its way from the grey austerity of the war years.
As times change, so do their fortunes for better and worse, ebbing and flowing as the years go by. Their stories create a generous epic, an extraordinarily rich and plangent hymn to the death and perhaps rebirth of middle England over the past fiFty years. At its heart are a diverse and persuasive cast of loveable and odious characters whose various attempts to break free are chronicled in an addictive and compelling narrative of extraordinary power and resonance. Quite simply, In a Land of Plenty is the story of our lives.