My great-grandmother and grandfather referred to their respective origins (Poland and Croatia) as ‘the old country’. They didn’t like to talk about it, and they didn’t like people asking questions. Some of it was privacy, and part of it was wanting to forget, wanting to leave it behind. Before she died, Stella shared a few things of the old country. Those stories touched my heart, and from an early age, I wanted to share them. It feels surreal that I get to do so in a beautiful novel in 5 months from now. I can’t wait for you to read it and fall in love with their courage and strength.