For Stella Fortuna, death has always been a part of life. Stella's childhood is full of strange, life-threatening incidents- moments when ordinary situations like cooking eggplant or feeding the pigs inexplicably take a lethal turns. Even Stella' own mother is convinced that her daughter is cursed or haunted.
In her rugged italian village, Stella is considered an oddity- beautiful and smart, insolent and cold. Stella uses her peculiar toughness to protect her baby sister, Tina, from life's harshest realities. Whe the Fortuna's emigrate to Ameriza on the cusp of World War II, Stella and Tina must come of age side by side in a hostile new world with strict expectations for each of them. Soon Stella leanrs that her survival is worthless without the one the her family will deny her at any cost: her independence.