What unfolds is a searing investigation of how the good can be corrupted by evil. In this case, the evil is Hitler's burgeoning regime and the good is Thekla, who believes that she can stay out of the fray if only she can remain focused on herself. She doesn't agree with what she sees, yet with every affront to her beliefs, she is forced to weigh what is truly important to her. She discovers, though, that staying on the right path may not be possible if she ignores her changing world.
Hegi's storytelling is artful, beautiful, reminiscent of folktale. Her characters are brilliantly drawn and even the smallest details glisten. This is a wonderful novel, and I can't wait to read this rest of her novels.