Irene Nemirovsky was a Russian Jew whose family had fled Kiev during the Russian Revolution in 1917. They eventually settled in Paris, where Irene attended university and began her writing career. In 1926 she married a banker, Michael Epstein, and they had two daughters. Her writing career also took off, and two of her novels, David Golder and Le Bal were made into movies during the 1930's.
Fortunately, their two daughters managed to escape the country, taking with them a notebook belonging to their mother. Assuming it to be a journal, the girls never read it, thinking it would be too painful. However, in the 1990's the older daughter, Denise, decided to donate her mother's papers to a French archive and determined to read the notebook before sending it away. To her surprise, it turned out to contain an unfinished work of fiction written by Irene in the two year period between the Nazi occupation of France and her arrest. Denise had it published in France where it became a bestseller.
"Storm in June" is a fictionalized account of what happened when the German army occupied France and were marching into Paris. It follows the stories of several sets of characters trying to flee the city; some encounter each other, but most never meet. There are the Pericands, a wealthy family which is trying to make its way to Nimes, where they have property. They make it out of Paris, but things go very wrong as they lose the elderly M. Pericand in the frantic confusion, and one of their sons, Hubert, runs away to join the army in a last ditch- and vain- effort to hold off the Germans. The French army is utterly routed, and Hubert is presumed either dead or a prisoner of war. Their other son, Phillipe, is a priest who has been charged with evacuating a group of orphans out of Paris, an excursion which ends tragically as it becomes evident that the Germans are not the only danger in the countryside. There is also Charles Langelet, an art collector who tries to flee with his greatest treasures, and is uncaring about anything or anyone else. We also follow the narrative of Gabriel Corte, a well-known writer who is making his way to Vichy with his mistress.
Maurice and Jeanne Michaud are a married couple who both work at a bank. With the Germans fast approaching Paris, they are promised transport to Tours by their employer, who ends up abandoning them at the last minute. They attempt to make their way on their own, but are unsuccessful and must return to Paris, uncertain of their future, but thankful to still be together. Their greatest worry is for their son, Jean-Marie, who was in the French army, and hasn't been heard from since their defeat. As it turns out, he was wounded in the fight with the German army, and is being hidden and nursed back to health on a farm near the small town of Bussy. He is eventually able to contact his parents and reunite with them in Paris.
These two narratives now intersect, as Madeleine goes to Lucille and asks for help for her husband... it's assumed no one will search the house where the German commander is living. Lucille hides Benoit in an unused room in their house, and this deception drives a wedge between her and Bruno, although he is never aware of what she's doing. "Dolce" draws to a close in 1941, when the occupying troops in Bussy receive orders to join the force headed to the Eastern Front for the invasion of the Soviet Union. Lucille asks Bruno for a travel voucher and a fuel coupon, lying about why she needs them. He gives them to her, and after he leaves she uses it to drive Benoit to another hiding place. This is where "Dolce" ends: the third, unwritten novella was to have picked up from this point. Tragically, it was never completed.