Hosna bint Mahmoud is the second wife of Mustafa Sa’eed. She is a young, beautiful Sudanese woman from the small village of Wad Hamid, located along the banks of the Nile river in northern Sudan. Like all the other villagers, Hosna knows nothing of her husband’s previous life, including his time in England and his murder of his first wife, Jean Morris. She has two sons with Sa’eed, but she is left a widow when her husband drowns—possibly by suicide. Her marriage to Sa’eed seems to change her in some mysterious way. She resists pressure by her family to marry Wad Rayyes, the much older villager who becomes obsessed with marrying her after Sa’eed’s death. The narrator himself, who is designated as her guardian after Sa’eed’s death, develops deep feelings for her. In spite of her resistance, her father forces her to marry Wad Rayyes against her will, even though she seeks the narrator’s help in avoiding the marriage. The marriage culminates in tragedy when, resisting rape by Wad Rayyes, Hosna murders him and kills herself shortly after their wedding. Hosna’s murder-suicide is condemned by the villagers, and only the narrator—who is devastated by the tragedy—comes to her defense. Hosna’s violent murder-suicide reveals the devastating costs of standing up for herself and defending her rights in the small, patriarchal village community.