The extemporaneous existence of Nadine, a bright, complex but naive and trusting young German woman, begins when she heads to England after World War II.
She thinks she's leaving home to improve her knowledge of Shakespeare's English while working as an au pair in a British household, but instead she's about to learn the ways of the world and become a woman.
Nadine goes to England to look after Lipsey and Peter, the two young children of Julie and James Johnson, an English couple in Groomsbridge. While there, she also meets a number of interesting Englishmen of different ages who appreciate her in varying ways consistent with their social class. One of them is Andrew Gibson, a handsome "sausage boy", who picks her up at a carnival. She quickly falls for him.
Gain new insights into World War II, assiduously recollected by a young German woman who lives abroad. As the reader watches her, she slowly, incessantly steps forth in The extemporaneous Existence of Nadine Tallemann until her development is forcibly interrupted.