The story begins in Athens, with Chara Chaska, a single mother who works at an advertising agency. When her boyfriend and fellow co-worker steals her ideas for a campaign and gets promoted instead of her, she decides to leave her old life behind, quit her job and accept an inheritance (a house and a shop) at a remote village.
As soon as she and her daughter reach the village in question, Kolokotronitsi (Κολοκοτρωνίτσι, presumably named after Theodoros Kolokotronis) located somewhere in Arcadia, they meet the mayor, Periandros Popotas (Περίανδρος Πώποτας), an old - fashioned person with a pathological hatred of everything "modern" who dislikes all "foreigners" who may disrupt the motto of the village "Order and Morality" (Τάξις και Ηθική). Having studied folk art and traditions in London, he lives with his son Emmanouil and with the family help of Tasia, but has a secret shady past of his own (he is pretending that his wife Penelope, a world-renowned opera singer has died, while in reality they have divorced - and he has blocked her from seeing their son ever since). Periandros has a sister, Stavroula, unhappily married to the village's cheating cafe owner, Vangelis.
As soon as Chara comes to the village, opening a modern cafeteria (which she calls "To cafe tis Charas", literally "The cafe of joy", a pun on her name) and questioning many of the old - fashioned beliefs, the mayor turns everyone against her but sure enough, she soon manages to turn everybody round with her liberal and kind-hearted ways. The mayor is not unaffected and soon falls desperately in love with her.
Among the secondary characters is Lefteris and Kanella, the village's bakers who have a long-running feud with the village's greengrocers, Tasos and Chaido over a fig tree (only to have their feud resolved when their children, Billy and Gogo get together and eventually marry), the village's priest Papa-Triantafyllos and his gossiping wife Marika and Aglaia, the wacky teacher who is madly in love with Periandros and fantasizes about getting married to him.