Twelve-year old Hillevi lives in a Finnish village. She finds all the boys at her school boring, even Tuomo, much admired by the other girls, who keeps pretending to be in love with her. Also she is much too late with her first period and the advice given by her Aunt Saari seems bizarre. Should she really stuff a piece of mouse-skin in her knickers? Seeking relief from such problems Hillevi frequents an abandoned garden where she can think without being disturbed. One day, however, the owner of the garden turns up, Viola, who, rumour says, has been in a mental hospital for years. Slowly, she and Hillevi become friends and Hillevi gets to know the incredible story of a life that reaches back to the events of the war.
"Lembcke tells her story in a language as light as a feather and with a calm and steady flow. Sadness is a part of happiness, too - with a little sigh one hears Marjaleena Lembcke's message and begins to believe again in the goodness of life." (Neue Zürcher Zeitung)