Welsh sisters face hydra-headed adversity during World War II.
When their home is destroyed in a bombing raid, Meryl Jones is evacuated to Carmarthen, though older sister Hari continues her war work in Swansea. Housed with an abusive family, Meryl runs off. She’s found by Michael Euler, a half-German young man living quietly on a farm with his Welsh mother. Clever Meryl helps on the farm, falls for Michael and even learns German. But when Hari comes to visit, Michael is entranced. Tipped off by Meryl’s foster family, the military police come for Michael. Pretending to be his pregnant wife, Meryl attempts to flee with him to Ireland, but their boat is sunk by a German submarine that picks up the couple and ferries them to the Fatherland, where Michael’s well-connected dad takes them in. They marry for practical reasons, and Michael becomes a pilot. Back home, Hari continues with her work intercepting German messages. Meryl, who is doing similar work, manages to get a message through to her sister. Although Hari now at least knows that Meryl is alive, she’s bitterly jealous, unsure if the marriage to Michael is merely one of convenience. Meryl, now really pregnant, is conscripted as a British spy and takes dangerous chances. When the war ends, Michael must choose between the sisters.
Veteran Gower returns to the Welsh historical field she’s mined so often before (Spinner’s Wharf, 2002, etc.). Though the story holds your interest, the plot, at once incredible and entirely predictable, makes it hard to care deeply about either Meryl or Hari while you await the next crisis.