On August 31, 1939, Anna Sands and her mother are spending a final day shopping for supplies and having a few treats before Anna is evacuated from London. It is the eve of World War II and thousands of children and being separated from their families in an effort to keep them safe from the anticipated bombings. It is days later when Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's declaration of war.
For several years Anna lives at Ashton Park, a large manor house north of York. There are over 80 children bordered there. Thomas and Elizabeth Ashton opened their house to the children as they don't have any of their own. Possibly they hoped to heal those wounds by having so many children living close at hand. Over the four plus years that Anna lived at Ashton Park she formed a bond with Thomas and one of her teachers. That bond stayed with her and overshadowed her activities for the rest of her life.