Odile obtains a post as librarian at the American Library in Paris. She continues working there for most of World War II. She makes many friends, some of whom later are in danger: Professor Cohen, who is sent to an internment camp, Margaret, an English woman who is the wife of a diplomat, Bitsi who works in the children’s section and many others.
She has a twin brother, Remy, who dies whilst he is a prisoner of war.
She finds out that her father and the man she married, both of whom are policeman, have been responding to “crow” letters – letters that giveaway illegal activities. Odile hides some of these letters. She leaves her husband of one day when she finds out this that he has been involved in beating up Margaret who had had an affair with a German soldier.
We read of Odile in World War II but also of her life in the 1980s as a widow in America. She married bigamously an American soldier she met at the American hospital. She befriends a young neighbour, Lily, and tries to help her avoid the same sort of mistakes she had made.
Some of the characters are based on real people.