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In 1939, in the English village of Penny Green, the life of married author, publisher and idealist Mark Sabre is thrown into turmoil when he learns that his former sweetheart, Nona Tybar, has returned to town and wants to rekindle their romance. Mark's wife Mabel, a humorless but fair woman, knows that her husband is a permissive man who always likes to see both sides of an issue, and she decides that it would be best not to interfere in his attempts to spend time with Nona. This way, Mabel reasons, he will be able to compare her to his ex-girl friend and decide for himself whom he prefers. At about the same time that Nona arrives in Penny Green, Mr. Fortune, the head of Mark's publishing company, begins a campaign to deny Mark the partnership appointment he expects. Alone with Mark for the first time in years, Nona tells him that leaving him to marry another man was a mistake, and that she wants a second chance with him. Mark agrees with Nona that they were meant for each other, and suggests that they resume their romance in secret. One day, while picnicking in a park, Nona tells Mark that she wants both of them to leave their spouses and elope. Nona's husband Tony eventually becomes suspicious of his wife's association with Mark and, while visiting the writer at his office, announces that he is rejoining his military regiment in the hopes of winning back Nona's love. With England on the brink of war, Nona fears for Tony's safety, and decides that she will not leave him until he returns. Mark tries to subvert Tony's ploy by joining the army himself, but a doctor refuses to enlist him. Soon after England goes to war, Nona joins the Women's Auxiliary Force and bids Mark farewell. Nona, trying to convey her desire to return to Mark, quotes a line from a poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley: "O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind." Time passes, and Mark finds himself in trouble both at home and at the office when he is unjustly accused of having an affair with Effie Bright, one of his co-workers. Mabel vows to divorce Mark, who is then fired by Mr. Fortune to avoid a possible scandal. Effie, who has been thrown out of her parents' home, goes to live with Mark, and soon falls in love with him. Mark, however, is still in love with Nona. When Effie is named as the co-respondent in Mabel's divorce suit, she becomes distraught and kills herself. Mark is accused of killing Effie, and things look bad for him at his trial, until Nona, now a war widow, returns to Penny Green and offers testimony that clears him of murder. Back at home, Mark finds a letter from Harold Twyning, the son of one of his former associates, in which the boy confesses that he was the one who impregnated Effie. Rather than publicize the news, Mark decides to end the chain of scandal in his town by burning the letter and concentrating instead on his new life with Nona.