On a December night in 1938, a 10-year-old girl named Lore is put on the Kinder transport, a train carrying hundreds of Jewish children out of Austria to safety from Hitler's increasingly alarming oppression. Temporarily housed at the Dover Court Camp on England's east coast, Lore will find herself living in other people's houses for the next seven years: the Orthodox Levines, the Hoopers, the working-class Grimsleys, and the wealthy Miss Douglas and Mrs. Dillon.
For Ilka Weissnix, everything is new. Having recently arrived in the United States, she is determined to escape the immigrant communities of New York and boards a train headed west to discover "the real America". She finds Carter Bayoux "sitting on a stool in a bar in the desert, across from the railroad."