Everyone has an imaginary friend. Rarely do they marry their imaginary friend. Only one has ever had their imaginary family become real.
Lewis Tumnal is a teacher of English at the county school. Quiet and uncomplicated, he lives in a big Edwardian house in the north of Wren Hoe with his wife, and a daughter of eleven years.
But Lewis Tumnal and his family are the imaginary lives of Louis Tumnal, a withdrawn and lonely bachelor, ill at ease with himself and in social situations. With few friends, he goes to a night class in photography which he loves, but he keeps himself very much to himself. That is, until he meets Kathryn...