In 1968 Ruth and Paul Bowen mourn the death by drowning of their eight year old daughter Alice in the Marchlands area around their rural house. Ruth believes Paul blames her and is distant from her but both of them ally against his mother Evelyn,when she suggests that Alice's bedroom be turned into a sewing room. Nineteen years later Helen and Eddie Maynard now live in the house and are troubled when their little girl Amy tells them that a ghost called Alice is her imaginary friend,the more so when Amy's pet cat is killed,supposedly by Alice. In 2010 expectant Nisha and her partner,local boy Mark,have bought the house. Decorating the planned nursery Nisha finds a photo of Alice and a strange mural. She meets the Maynards' son Scott,now in his thirties and the village shop keeper but finds Mark evasive after seeing him communicate with deaf villager Olive Runcie.