Sister Bernard has lived in a grey-stone convent in rural France for more than seventy years. In that time, a once youthful and lively cloister has gradually emptied, until only Bernard and two other nuns remain. Now, the three women pack away their few possessions into wooden boxes, preparing to leave the building that has been their home for decades. For the nuns, the closing of the convent means more than losing a home; the walls have shielded them from a changing modern world, for Sister Bernard the quiet monotony of the religious life has protected her from memories of the past - the disgrace of when she was a young woman in wartime France; when her devotion to God faded in the face of her need for a young Nazi soldier; and when she experienced the full horror and violence of war.
Jacqueline Yallop read English at Oxford and did her PhD in nineteenth-century literature at the University of Sheffield. She has worked as the curator of the Ruskin Collection in Sheffield and is the author of the non-fiction work Magpies, Squirrels and Thieves and the novel Kissing Alice. She currently lives in France.