Most of the events in the novel take place in Devon where the characters live. Devon, also known as Devonshire, which was formerly its common and official name, is a county of England, reaching from the Bristol Channel in the north to the English Channel in the south.
Dorchester is the closest town where the characters have their homes. Dorchester is the county town of Dorset. A historic market town, Dorchester is on the banks of the River Frome to the south of the Dorset Downs and north of the South Dorset Ridgeway that separates the area from Weymouth, 11 km to the south.
Topaz and her mother are the only characters who do not live in Dorset, but in London. Their flat is in Bayswater. Bayswater is an area within the City of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in central London.
At the beginning of the book Jack returns home after fighting in the war with the Royal Engineers. The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers (RE), and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army.
When Marius met Suzanne, she was a voluntary at the ATS. The Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) was the women’s branch of the British Army during the Second World War. It was formed on 9 September 1938, initially as a women’s voluntary service, and existed until 1 February 1949, when it was merged into the Women’s Royal Army Corps.
In 1947 England is paralysed because of the terrible weather. The winter of 1946–1947 was a harsh European winter noted for its effects in the United Kingdom. It caused severe hardships in economic terms and living conditions. There were massive disruptions of energy supply for homes, offices and factories. Animal herds froze or starved to death. People suffered from the persistent cold, and many businesses shut down temporarily. When warm weather returned, the ice thawed and flooding was severe in most low-lying areas. Beginning on 21 January 1947, the UK experienced several cold spells that brought large drifts of snow to the country, blocking roads and railways, which caused problems transporting coal to the electric power stations. Many had to shut down, forcing severe restrictions to cut power consumption, including restricting domestic electricity to 19 hours per day and cutting some industrial supplies completely. In addition, radio broadcasts were limited, television services were suspended, some magazines were ordered to stop publishing, and newspapers were reduced in size.
Topaz’s favourite flower is the primrose, and there is a scene in which she and Charlie dance and he picks some primroses and pins them to her lapel.
When Topaz goes on a tour with Charlie as an assistant stage manager, one of the places they visit is Broadstairs, and it is here that she loses her virginity to Charlie. Broadstairs is a coastal town on the Isle of Thanet in the Thanet district of east Kent, England, about 130 km east of London.
When Will leaves England, he goes to Saskatchewan in Canada. Saskatchewan is a prairie and boreal province in western Canada, the only province without natural borders.