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"Tatiana Metanova wakes up on 22 June 1941, the day before her 17th birthday, to her older sister Dasha coming home and declaring that she is in love. That same morning, Vyacheslav Molotov announces Germany has invaded the Soviet Union. Tatiana's parents send her twin brother Pasha to a boys' camp so that the army won't draft him. Tatiana, who is young and naive, is excited by the war. While her family focuses on sending Pasha safely away, Tatiana is entrusted with buying food and supplies. Unable to find much to buy, she buys a scoop of ice-cream, causing her to miss her bus. While waiting for the next bus, she notices a Red Army officer watching her, and he eventually crosses the street and introduces himself as lieutenant Alexander Belov.

After an embarrassed introduction, Alexander and Tatiana become attracted to one another and he helps her buy food at the Officers' store. Alexander's irritating friend Dimitri insists on helping them carry the boxes home. When they arrive at Tatiana's apartment, they discover he is the man Dasha has fallen in love with. Tatiana is disappointed but doesn't want to come between him and her sister. However, Alexander visits her the following day, meeting her outside of the Kirov factory where she works. After a few weeks of walking her home, Alexander and Tatiana's attraction is undeniable. Still, Tatiana begs Alexander to stay with Dasha and not break her sister's heart."

So begins the story of Alexander, or Shura, whose life will be forever changed by Tatiana and the secrets he hides.