Long after a diverse group of families have created a good life in the wake of the horrors of World War II, the past comes back to haunt one of them.
The Dower House is home to nine families, beginning with famous sculptor Felix Breit and his wife, Angela, both concentration camp survivors. Most of the community members are engaged in the arts. Their numbers include several architects, an editor, a writer, a BBC executive and the families’ children, collectively known as The Tribe. In 1956, Britain finds itself in a transformative period. So do the Dower House families, who have big plans to buy the estate, owned by a gravel company, create permanent apartments they would own, build several new apartments and eventually establish a golf course. The golf course plans are well in hand by 1963, when Angela goes out to offer a surveying crew some coffee and turns her life upside down. A member of the crew known as Inge Dobson is really SS-Aufseherin Irmgard Heugel, who made Angela’s life a living hell in Ravensbrück, where she was a political prisoner. When Inge, whose husband is headmaster at the children’s school, comes back later to talk privately, Angela must decide whether she will ignore the past or confront it.
The last in the Dowager House trilogy (Strange Music, 2012, etc.) deftly concludes its often heartbreaking story of love, ambition and redemption.