As World War II nears its end, Etta and her family live precariously in their small, rural German town. When Etta's elder son, Max, returns from the Eastern Front, she quickly realizes that something is not right—he is thin, almost ghostly, and behaving strangely. Etta strives to protect him, even as her husband, Josef, becomes more nationalistic and impervious to Max's condition. Meanwhile, their younger son Georg has gone AWOL to set off on a long and perilous journey home. Drawing inspiration from her own father's time in the Hitler Youth, L. Annette Binder has crafted a spellbinding novel about the difficult choices we make for country and for family.