There are several settings to this story because of the flashback technique that the author uses to heighten the emotional impact of Gemma's story. The story begins in present day Massachusetts where Gemma is dying in a nursing home. The story concerns Gemma's granddaughter's, Becca, search for Gemma's mysterious past the finding of which appear in flashbacks to Gemma's life. Becca's search takes her to modern day Chelmo, Poland learn of her Grandmother's horrifying experiences at the hand of the Nazi's. The flashbacks take place in Poland during the Holocaust. The switch between the same present and the fairytale like evil of the Nazi world,give the story its extreme emotional punch. Instead of merely hearing a description of Gemma's experiences, the reader gets to see it through her perspective.