S.B. Lerner tells the story of Bianca, a girl who has her head in the clouds and must return to reality in order to make the most important decision of her life. Set in 1930s Poland, the plot focuses on the Libors, a poor family in a small rundown apartment. While Bianca dreams of being an author and a proponent of change in Poland, she doesn’t seem to realize that as a Jew she is not only discriminated against, but also in real danger. Her mother plans to marry her off to someone who can move them to a better apartment and care for Bianca — unlike Bianca’s father, who gambles and drinks. Pani Libor’s regrets fuel her plans for Bianca to avoid a similar fate.
The rise of anti-Semitism in Poland drives Bianca to the Guardsman, a group dedicated to supporting the settling of Palestine as a Jewish homeland. There she is introduced to Wolf, a leader who tries to convince her to come to Kibbutz training camp with him. But a matchmaker has found a doctor who wants to meet and perhaps marry Bianca.
Lerner paints her characters well — the struggling matriarch, the confused teenager on the cusp of adulthood — and keeps them relatable. It comes down to a choice: a stable and unhappy life versus one of fulfillment despite risk and danger.