In a small town on the Australian coast Penny grows up to marry the boy who has waited for her. Few know the truth about her birth. Her uncle Jack is one, for he shared with her father not only his childhood but also the horor of their wartime experience. Jack and Penny's special bond is as rare and precious as the beautiful nautilus shell they find washed up on the beach - entwined with its history are the secrets of their past and the tenacious passions of the other people who have had a stake in their lives. Richly evocative of postwar Australian life, Paper Nautilus subtly illuminates the complexities of ordinary people and the surprising powers of the human spirit.