Vancouver, 1942. When best friends Esther and Michiko spot beautiful Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret dolls, in vogue at the time, in the local toy-store window, they long to get the dolls for their shared birthday. But when Esther receives a doll and Michiko doesn't, their friendship starts to unravel.
The story is set against the backdrop of an atmosphere of increasing hostility and racist attacks upon the Japanese community that culminates in the internment. During much of the story, restrictions on Japanese Canadians are increasing. Then Michiko and her family are sent away. With such enormous barriers erected between them, Esther and Michiko are left to their own devices as to how to mend their friendship.