In 1870, 13-year-old Dina is forced to flee Germany after being mistaken for a spy. She takes her sister’s place on a ship to America, where she will live with Uncle, his young wife, Barbara, and baby Marie. After arriving, Dina finds herself in Brooklyn, sleeping in a stiflingly small room. Worst of all, she must earn her room and board by sewing.
Although talented, Dina despises the work, but sewing is part of Uncle’s plan to improve their situation, so Dina finds herself either at the machine or doing the endless work of a tenement life. Dina works hard to find her way. When she realizes that designing dresses is something she loves, readers will cheer her perseverance, and the happy ending seems well deserved.