When Alexandra returns to Australia to be with her dying grandfather, Wilhelm, and grandmother Romy, they share with her family secrets they had kept hidden for over fifty years. In 1939, two young girls meet in Shanghai, the 'Paris of the East': beautiful local Li and Viennese refugee Romy. They form a fierce friendship but the deepening shadows of World War Two fall over the women as they slip between the city's glamorous French Concession and the desperate Shanghai Ghetto. Eventually, they are forced to go in separate ways as Romy doubts Li's loyalties. When Alexandra flies to Shanghai, determined to trace her grandparents' past, she peels back the layers of their hidden lives and soon begins to question everything she knows about her family - and herself.