In 1942 World War II is in full swing. German cities are bombarded on a daily basis and many civilians die. To keep her daughter safe, Mrs. Lyndt takes six year old Inge to her mother's estate in Prussia. There Inge befriends Paul-Emile Diderot, a sixteen year old French prisoner of war. As the Red Army advances on Prussia, Paul-Emile decides to escape with Inge his ticket to freedom. They leave the estate at the end of January 1945, during the coldest winter in a decade. In a chaise drawn by two horses they join the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Germans to the west. Inge expects adventure, instead finds herself mired in a cataclysm. After months of hardship and struggling against nature and enemy forces they reach Paris. Traumatized by his experiences, Paul-Emile distances himself from the girl who loves him. At fourteen a rebellious Inge is reunited with her parents who are at a loss how to handle her willful independence. Inge blames all her problems, mostly self inflicted, on the war and Paul-Emile. Thirty-five years later their paths cross again at an archaeological dig in Egypt.
Sieglinde P. Young was born in Hannover, Germany and personally experienced the horrors of World War II. After the war she and her family emigrated to Canada and a few years later to Miami, Florida. After she raised three daughters, wanderlust struck and the next twenty years took her and her husband to West Africa, South East Asia and the Middle East.