It's August 1844 and Miss Matty knows only too well that faces will always come and go in Cranford, but for now she is happy that her dear brother, Peter is home from India and that Martha, Jem and baby Tilly make for a lively household. Lady Ludlow is awaiting the return of her son, Septimus, and young Harry Gregson is about to start his education at Shrewsbury, benefiting from the moral support of Miss Galindo. Then there's news that wealthy widower, Mr Buxton has returned to live in Cranford, bringing with him his charming ward, Erminia and his handsome Eton-educated son, William. Whilst at nearby Thorn Cottage, Peggy Bell tries to make the best of things caring for her mother and brother Edward. Elsewhere, the world continues to change, but for now the railway has stopped five miles outside Cranford in spite of the efforts Captain Brown. All too soon life in Cranford will change in some very unexpected ways.