Ian McEwan captures the pre-WWII life of the English gentry. His heroine, Briony, is a child before the war, and an adult during. Could someone, McEwan asks his readers, do something so awful that she can never make amends, never atone for her wickedness,… ever?
[My wife despises Briony with a passion and thinks that she could never atone for her crime!]
The middle section of novel switches gear and covers the Dunkirk evacuation of 27 May–4 June 1940. Briony becomes a nurse and the remainder of the book follows her life and includes wonderfully convincing descriptions of her treating the wounded in a London hospital. Try it.