For most of her brief life, Lea has known only pain, mostly from watching the horrible abuses her brutish father heaped upon her mother while Lea was growing up in a Slovakian village. One day her mother, tired of being continually raped and beaten, attempts to take Lea and escape. Unfortunately, the father catches them and right before the little girl's terrified eyes, murders his wife. Lea goes to a foster home, but the traumatic scars remain, as evidenced by a lingering speech impediment. Soon after the killing, Lea devises a secret underground shrine to honor her mother, something she maintains into her early teens. She grows to become a lovely young woman and one day her unusual beauty attracts the eye of a visiting German who pays a large dowry to her foster father. Without telling Lea the true nature of the bargain, he sends her off with the German. She is terribly surprised to find herself forced to marry him and deeply troubled when he seems to be frighteningly like her father. But fortunately, her husband is not irredeemable and proves this when he discovers Lea's love of music.