Rose Cottage, by Mary Stewart, is set in post-WW2 England, in 1947. Heroine Kate Herrick is a war widow. Her husband was a pilot who died in the last days of the war and left her a wealthy young widow. She has been living in London ever since, working at a friend's florist shop, but she is adrift, unsure of what her life will be like.
She then hears from her grandmother, who is recovering from a recent illness. Her grandmother would like to move from England back home to Scotland. She asks Kate to help pack up Rose Cottage, where Kate, once known as Kathy, grew up.
Kathy has a controversial back-story. She was born on the "wrong side of the blanket," to a young mother who never told her anything about her father. When a sour spinster aunt joined their household tensions rose so much that Kate's mother eventually left, purportedly running off with a Gypsy. Kate was raised by her loving grandparents.
As soon as Kate steps foot in the village where she grew up she is pulled back into memories of the past. She is also no longer "Kate," but becomes "Kathy" again, the name by which everyone in the village knew her.
Rose Cottage is a cozy old-fashioned romance, with a few mysteries for Kathy to unravel. Can she find out anything more about her mother, who ran off with a Gypsy when she was just a child? Who was her father? Who has been sneaking around the cottage, stealing family papers, digging holes in the garden, and visiting her Aunt's grave in the local cemetery? Are the local "witches" correct that ghosts from Kathy's family's past may somehow be involved?
"'I am not myself afraid of the dark,' said Miss Mildred, 'but I don't like meeting strangers in it.'"