Alexander McCall Smith has written many books including books in The Number One Ladies' Detective Agency series, Isabel Dalhousie series and 44 Scotland Street series. One of the author's strengths is that he writes about people as they experience what life presents. This he achieves again in this book about people reluctantly involved in war in England, Holland and Germany and about a dog, Peter Woodhouse.
Part of the book is set in England where Val lives with her aunt and works as a Land Girl on a local farm. The American Air Force sets up a base in the area and Val meets Mike, one of the pilots. When her cousin, Willy, rescues a dog that has been mistreated by its master Val realises that they must hide the dog in a new home. That is how Peter Woodhouse becomes a mascot dog for the men at the air force base and even gets to ride in a plane.
The story moves on to Holland where Mike and Peter Woodhouse are sheltered by members of the resistance after their plane is shot down. As well as portraying the difficulties of life in England during and after the war, the book describes the situation in Germany after the defeat that country and tells of people trying to reconstruct their lives.
Generally this is a book about humanity. The characters of the book demonstrate how war affects the lives of ordinary people who are just trying to survive.