In the stormy grey dawn of her first night in the Moorland Chalet Park twenty-four year old Lizzie Juniper witnesses the cliff crash into the North Sea. As waves ravage the mass of land one of the chalets severs apart and plunges into the water far below. The chalet is not the only thing now lying amongst the rocks and earth and pounded by the rain-swept sea but also the battered bodies of its owners, Gordon and Shelley Weston immortalised in a painting submerged beside them.
Later that morning as calm settles over the Yorkshire coast the authorities order the remaining residents to move out. Lizzie immediately sets about finding alternative accommodation, determined that this time her lover Andrew Booth, the owner of Moorland Castle, will do the right thing. Before he can do so however he disappears and only his wife Judith knows where he is. Over the following gloriously sun-filled week leading up to the fifth of November the other residents procrastinate seemingly unable to leave the place that has been their home for over thirty years.
Within the space of a few days Lizzie realises that her knowledge of the link between the chalet park and the castle with its Double Priest Hide and Smugglers’ passageway becomes both her saviour and downfall. It’s up to her which route she takes.
Before the grand annual bonfire and firework display she has to work out if the sea really is the force that is destroying the cliff edge chalet park or if the disused alum mines running beneath the ground are filled with exploding gas or is it more of a human force that is responsible? But she is side-tracked; side-tracked by the portraits that the resident artist paints of each of the chalet owners. They are significant but she doesn’t know why, not even when Jez stares deep into her eyes and attempts to capture her soul.
Erosion is about more than a collapsing cliff face; it is about the disappearance of a way of life and what people who have nothing left to lose are capable of when pushed to the edge.