The main character in Lynne Sharon Schwartz's book is Renata, a woman obsessed with languages. She can speak or learn quickly almost any language known, even some that have died out. The main character's twin, Claudia, had died prior to when the book starts. There are many mysteries to her sister's death, and throughout the book, she tries to solve them.
How did her sister die? Did someone kill her? Why?? And the ultimate question provoked by her sister's death- what about Claudia's daughter? Renata is entrusted with the care of her niece-Gianna. At age seven, Gianna is missing. Then, September 11th happens. With everyone scrambling to find their loved ones, Renata rethinks her niece's disappearance. One day after September 11th, she sees an appropriately aged teenager that looks shockingly like her sister at that age wandering the streets. Is this girl her niece, now lost for 10 years?