The storyline follows the lives of members of the same
family living in three locations during World War Two: Britain, Nazi-occupied Austria and Southern Rhodesia in Africa.
On the British side, Malcolm is present at Dunkirk and his mother, Helen, experiences the bombing of London.
Nell, British, Rudi, Austrian, and their daughter Acorn sit out the war in Southern Rhodesia, but nonetheless, war touches every aspect of their lives.
The Austrian contingent consists of Amelia, an aristocrat, who is mother of Rudi and two teenagers, Werner and Sofie, who live in Nazi-occupied Vienna. The family is anti-Nazi but pays lip-service to the Nazi overlords, while helping to run a Monarchist Resistance group. Werner, an ambulance driver, is injured in Normandy. Sofie creates a problem for her family by falling in love and secretly marrying a Nazi officer who participates in Hitler's Russian Campaign.
The story follows the British members of the family through to the euphoria of VE-Day and, at the same time, the Austrian members through to the Allied bombing of Vienna. Rudi and Nell in Africa are caught between the winners’ euphoria and the losers’ humiliation.
Despite the dark times, humor, hope, love and redemption feature in equal measure.
H. Ann Ackroyd was born and raised in southern Africa. She
is of British and Austrian parentage and has family in Britain, Europe and Africa with whom she keeps in touch and on whose experiences she draws, along with her own, in Across the Rift.
She now lives with her husband, John, in Simcoe, Ontario, Canada.