Two sisters, forever tied by love and sadness.
The life of Anna Grieve and her fragile older sister, Esther, begins in Russia in the 1880s. The violent persecution of Jews leads their mother to a fateful decision, to send the girls away with her wealthy employers-halfway across the world to Winnipeg.
The girls are never at ease in their new home. Esther's beauty and glamour hide the fact that she is losing herself to mental illness. Anna, always the misfit and the rebel, leaves as soon as she can for New York where she reinvents herself as a women's rights activist in Manhattan, running an illegal contraceptive business in the shadows.
Anna spends her life torn between taking care of Esther and escaping her, never understanding the true depth of her sister's anguish. When Anna hears the news of Esther's death on an historic day in WWII, her world comes to a halt. She must travel back to Winnipeg to find out why.
Was it a suicide? Did the events of the war play a part, or is that a coincidence? Anna's search for answers will take her back to the violence of their childhood in Russia, to years of suppressed memories and untold stories of the family they left behind, and finally back to that fateful day during WWII.The mystery surrounding Anna Grieve and her mentally fragile older sister, Esther, begins in Russia in the 1880s. The persecution of Jews has become so vicious that the girls' mother decides to send her children to Winnipeg with her wealthy employers. Her intention is to join them, but the sisters never see their parents again. Frightened and cut adrift, each girl reacts differently to her new family in North America. Esther's beauty and glamorous lifestyle hide the fact that she is losing herself to mental illness brought on by a trauma during her childhood in Russia. Anna does not understand the depth of her sister's torment, and spends her life torn between taking care of her and escaping her. As soon as she can, Anna leaves for New York and makes a new life as a women's rights activist with an illegal contraceptive business in Manhattan.
When Anna receives the unexpected news of Esther's apparent suicide on If Day in Winnipeg - the day a simulated Nazi attack took place to raise money for war bonds - she returns to the city to face the possibility that If Day and Esther's early trauma are inexorably linked to her death.