In Ashes and Embers, a fictional memoir, Noelle comes of age at the time when the Nazis have invaded her country, Norway. Resettled in a small village with her father and twin brother, the twins come under the spell of classmate Hans, destined to be Noelles lover. The trio is drawn into a group of resistance saboteurs. However, the group is betrayed and suspicion falls on Hans who flees to Brazil.
After the war, Noelle marries an American official and settles in Washington. A major part of the book deals with her adjustment to marriage and the American Way of Life through McCarthyism, the Vietnam war and domestic battles, including four children. Throughout, music is her consolation...
As a widow in her early fifties, she reconnects with Hans. The mystery is solved, Hans is exonerated, but will they find happiness together?