It was like looking into the crimson depths of a giant poppy. Rifke pulled off her old clothes and slipped the dress over her head, feeling its petal-soft fabric caress her skin. She darted a glance at Ma. Her mouth was set in a straight line. Still she said nothing.
The argument over the red dress is the final straw for fourteen-year-old Rifke. Fed up of living in stuffy Johannesburg with her crabby, difficult mother, she snaps and recklessly boards a train out of town.
But her fantasy escape doesn't go exactly to plan, and Rifke ends up in the middle of nowhere. With no train home for thirty days, she is forced to stay with the mysterious and unwelcoming van Niel family on their rundown farm. . . and suddenly her old life doesn't seem so bad.