The young farmer’s wife who awakens to find her husband has left in the night with the rest of the men in Olchon to fight back against the occupying forces of Germany after their successful counterattack on Britain. After coming to find unity with the other women of the border valley, she is forced to test her mind and her soul when a German patrol travels through and finds itself demanding the care and accommodation of the women.
Her interactions with Albrecht Wolfram frame her struggle particularly well, as she pains to see that these men have hearts and humanity running through them. Sarah is the boat stuck in a storm that must make sacrifices in order to come out of the situation educated and enlightened.
‘Everything about her felt heavy, as if her veins were laced with lead’
‘Sarah felt like a girl again, that one word (Bach) sending her back to her mother and her childhood’
‘For Sarah Lewis it began in her sleep. The drag, rattle, and bark of the dogs straining on their chains was so persistent it entered her dreams. A ship in storm, the sailors shouting for help from the deck, their pink faces and open mouths obscured by the spray blown up the sides of the hull’
‘Sarah could still feel the last traces of his body’s heat, held in the fabric of the sheet just as the mattress held his form. But this morning that residue was missing’
‘Then the noise became Marley’s ghost, dragging his shackles over a flagstone floor. Clink, slump, clink, slump’