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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."

That's the moment Tatiana's life changes for good. With World War II around them, and some of the most important events of the 20th century waiting for her, she will become an incredible strong woman, and a most beloved character.