Character profile: Hortense Roberts (Naomie Harris)
A naturally proud and headstrong woman, Hortense has always kept her true parentage a secret. She also has a strong sense of her own destiny: to live in England with Michael and be a teacher there. When Michael is sent away to the war, Hortense instinctively fights to keep her dream alive and proposes to Gilbert, a man she hardly knows, but someone who will aid her passage to England. She arrives in a country which both surprises and disappoints her in its bleak and unfriendly ‘greyness’, but it is through this new life that she discovers a different side to her character and, for the first time, the meaning of true love.