In an alternative history, the D-Day landings were unsuccessful and Nazi Germany successfully defeated the Russian forces, leading the Third Reich to plan and enact a counterattack on British soils, effectively claiming most of the nation and causing the country’s morale to plummet and the manpower to shatter.
We observe all of this rather concerning turn of events from the life of Sarah Lewis, the wife of a farmer in Olchon, a valley on the border between Wales and England, who wakes up to find that her husband has left.
As we soon discover, the motif of a disappearance has occurred to other families in the valley, with all of the women waking up to find that their partners have left. Without any other plan or strategy, the women unite and wait, hoping for some news or any form of communication at all. They are none the wiser to the guerrilla stratagems of their husbands, desperate to rebel against the Nazi occupiers, hopeful but doubtful all in one.
After some time of worry but steady carrying on with work, the women are shocked when they are almost forced to accommodate a German patrol. The harsh winter rolls in and the Germans know they must do decent right by these women in order to survive. We are then witness to the woes of such unexpected and unwanted collaboration, with Sarah showing that she is herself imbued with ignorance and fear, being unable to see humanity in the man of Albrecht Wolfram, the captain of the patrol.
We also see how the disappeared husbands constantly cast a shadow over the narrative as well, with their mention and return being a persistent pull and force of anxiousness.
We see the humanity of the German soldiers shine through well and we also see how there is a deeper fear and unwillingness to break prejudices which transcends war and has rooted itself well in all forms of life.
Overall, the book highlights the confusion present in every mind and every situation. What seems obvious is rarely the case and the humanity of the German soldiers is no different. Sarah Lewis is stuck to observe how her feelings are strained in every direction and how her thoughts must race to make sense of it all.
Resistance is a 2007 alternative history novel by Welsh poet and author Owen Sheers. The plot centres on the inhabitants of a valley near Abergavenny in Wales in 1944–45, shortly after the failure of Operation Overlord and a successful German counter invasion of Great Britain.
A group of German Wehrmacht soldiers stay there after men leave to serve in the covert British Resistance. The novel follows abandoned farmer’s wife Sarah Lewis and German commanding officer Albrecht Wolfram, as they form an unlikely relationship in spite of their backgrounds and political standings.