10-year old Annemarie lives with her family in Denmark during World War 2. With the presence of the Nazis in Denmark, life is not the same again. The Danes are forced to live a life that is full of curfews. Besides, they do not have fuel for heating, and there is also a period of electricity rationing. Consequently, the Danes are forced to use candles as sources of light. Moreover, they have to get used to the sight of the German soldiers who are seen walking along the streets.
A Quick Synopsis of the Story
The adults find the presence of the soldiers scary since they have suffered many losses. Annemarie lost her sister Lise. She was killed because she was among the people that opposed the Nazis. Annemarie, Kirsti, and Ellen are not aware of the kind of danger they are exposed to. The only thing they know is that their lives have changed drastically. There is a shortage of food, clothes, and shoes.
At one point, Annemarie and Kirsti encounter the soldiers. They are warned by their parents to take a different route to school the next day. Mrs. Hirsch is taken away by the soldiers, together with her son. The Rosens escape and leave Ellen under the care of the Johansens. Johansens does not the whereabouts of the Rosens and insists that Ellen is his son despite the doubts from the soldiers.
Johansen goes with the three girls to Gilleleje, Denmark. The home of Henrik. They are later told that Great-aunt Birte is dead. The coffin is brought, and even Rosens come. They find Ellen. When the soldiers come to find out who is in the coffin, they are told the disease the person died of is highly contagious. The soldiers leave to the relief of the people since the coffin was empty.
Henrik then avails a boat that is meant to take the people to Sweden for safety. As Annemarie is sent to deliver a package to her uncle, she encounters soldiers who open her package only to find a handkerchief. She is allowed to go and makes it to Henrik safe.
In the evening, Henrik is safe with Annemarie, Kirsti, and their mother. They talk about the events of the day and the importance of the handkerchief in preventing them from being caught. In May, the war ends, and Annemarie can see people happy along the streets. The book by Lois Lowry ends there.