It's 1944, and Tolly is a boy from Manchester whose mother isn't convinced he's safe in the city while World War II is still on, especially since his father went missing while serving in battle. Tolly's mother sends him to spend a few months with his grandmother Linnet, who lives in a rattletrap home in the countryside. Tolly's father is her child, and Linnett is worried about his fate, one of the few things the boy's mother and grandmother can agree on. After spending a few days at Linnett's home, Tolly discovers a handful of spectral visitors and learns that the house is haunted. Linnett is on good terms with the spirits, who in life were members of the family, and as he gets to know the ghosts of stalwart Capt. Oldknow, his loyal wife Maria and their children, he learns a great deal about the exciting but sometimes troubled history of the Oldknow Family.