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Synopsis

When the men of a remote Hungarian village go off to war in 1916, the women left behind realize their lives are much better without them. Suddenly, they are not being beaten; they have time for friendships; they even find romance with the injured Italian soldiers staying just outside of town.

For Sari, an intelligent girl who's always been an outcast (her fellow villagers suspect her of being a witch because of her medical knowledge), it's the first time in her life she's had friends. When the men return at war's end, the freedom Sari and the others have enjoyed is suddenly snatched from them, and they realize they need to do whatever it takes to hold onto it. Sari puts her medical knowledge to use to off her husband. Then she helps one of her friends. And another. When the word spreads, she realizes her problems are only beginning. This creeping and hugely readable first novel is based on a true story.

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