Bettina Heilstrom is a young woman during World War II and has spent her entire life on the shores of Rugen, Germany. She had always been content with this quiet island living, working in her father’s fish shop. After both her parents are gone, the brutalities of war are on her doorstep. Resolved to remain alone, she unexpectedly marries Werner, not exactly love, but for companionship and maybe a chance to have a family of her own. Werner is a politico who works for a government agency. He derives great power controlling peoples lives with the information he gathers, including Bettina’s. When the Russians ultimately win control of the Eastern Bloc, a socialist republic is instituted and freedom is scarce. Bettina secretly falls in love with a writer/teacher named Peter and they begin a dangerous love affair. Flashing back from Bettina’s life in Chicago circa 1960 to her previous years in Germany, this now famous photographer must decide if she can start anew or if the past will haunt her forever. Excellent writing and a interesting history of postwar Germany that is rarely depicted.