The book is a fictional memoir based on actual events. Inspiration for the story came from hundreds of letters and other accounts written by Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur living in German-occupied Belgium and Italy during World War II. The author studied translated copies of the original documents, now preserved in a Cincinnati archive.
Dennis Turner created a composite character and order of nuns to give voice to the letter writers. Sister Christina, an Ohio farm girl, joined the Sisters of Our Lady to teach English and agricultural skills to schoolgirls. Assigned to Belgium in 1939, she lived there for the duration of World War II. Soon the nuns were risking their lives by joining forces with the Belgian Resistance to hide refugees, Jews, and downed American pilots. Turner’s story covers military and civilian life during Nazi occupation, the Battle of the Bulge, and Belgium’s liberation by the Allied forces. This evocative account runs through August 1945.