From the Back Cover:
In the deeply satisfying marriage of George and Catherine Stewart there was a constant shared danger: Catherine’s illness which might, any day, cause her death. They shared also a powerful memory – of Jerome Martell, who had been Catherine’s first husband and George Stewart’s closest friend, a brilliant doctor and a man passionately concerned with social justice, presumed to have died in a Nazi prison camp. It is the sudden return to Montreal of Jerome Martell that precipitates the crisis central to this novel.
From that dramatic point Hugh MacLennan takes the reader back into the lives closely bound together by admiration and love. These three emerge movingly as human beings struggling in the endless conflict between the spirit and the human condition. Writing about Montreal in the thirties, Mr. MacLennan vividly conveys the climate of the Depression time, when people caught politics the way they catch religion.
The focus returns to the present and to the crisis caused by Jerome Martell’s return. In profoundly moving and dramatic terms Hugh MacLennan resolves this story; and the reader leaves The Watch That Ends the Night with its crucial statement ringing in his mind: that if only for a few years, a week, or and hour, life is a gift.