Beginning in the 1930s, a young Briony accuses the cleaning lady’s son of assaulting her visiting cousin, Lola, because Briony found a note from Robbie to her sister Ceclia. This is amidst attempts of Briony to have her visiting cousins act in her play, The Trials of Arabella. The rest of the book follows Briony through adulthood as she tries to make up for her earlier indescretion that affected Robbie, Cecila, & her lives. We shift to France in 1941, with Robbie in the British Army, and to the London military hospitals where both Cecilia and Briony are training to be nurses.

auth=McEwan, Ian