What happens to ordinary people faced with extraordinary events? Should Marta's Jewish employers flee before the Germans or hang on to the life they have made ? And where does Marta's loyalty lie? Concentrate as the story weaves between past and present and between Marta's story and the narrator's voice: the revelations are as disturbing as the characters' dilemmas. And don't expect a weepie: this is a compassionate but unflinching tale.
Marta shifted automatically - it was not right to touch her employer. She had a flash again, of Ernst saying, 'Dirty ...' But Mr Bauer smelled of soap or shaving lotion, and beneath that of warm blankets and skin. He smelled as she did: human. Besides, something dramatic was happening, something extraordinary, and extraordinary events called for extraordinary measures. It was the kind thing to do, to reassure someone in distress. She knew nothing about politics, but the Bauers were her family. What had she been thinking? They were the same as they'd always been, and she was on their side. On Mr Bauer's side. Ernst could belive what he wanted.