After Kat Kowalski's husband ditched her, she finds a 19th century Polish peasant in her kitchen. She decides to give her life meaning by helping the woman whose name is Regina and hires Aniela, an affluent Polish émigré, as translator.
Regina says she was praying to the Black Madonna for help from her abusive husband when a flash of light brought her to Kat's backyard. Distraught over leaving her family, Regina is horrified to learn Kat is living apart from her own daughter. But Kat is not sure what she wants and gets in her own way. Her marriage and job bored her. Her daughter won't listen to her advice. Instead of loving people as they are, she decides to focus on Regina.
But despite English lessons and trips to the mall, Regina is not convinced that life is better in the 21st century. She runs away. Filled with remorse, Kat finds her and vows to help her go back to her family.
When Kat and Regina can't find a time portal that works, the exasperated Aniela reveals her true identity: she is Jadwiga, medieval queen of Poland sent by the Black Madonna to help them bring their lives back on course. If she is successful she will be allowed to stay on Earth and experience more of life. Kat now feels she has to help two women, and the responsibility almost overwhelms her.
At least she can buy Regina a new pair of shoes to replace her old worn-out boots. No sooner do they arrive at Wal Mart than Regina rescues a girl from assault in the ladies' room and realizes she too was a victim. Lesson learned, she can go back home.
Kat decides to follow her and find her happy place in 1825 Poland, where Kat flirts with a handsome widower and gets lost in the forest. Frustrated and alone, she realizes her own behavior has wrecked her life. Before she can travel home to heal her family she needs to forgive herself.
About the Author
Linda C. Wisniewski is a former librarian and journalist. Her work has been published widely in literary magazines and anthologies, and on her blog, www.lindawis.com. She is the author of a memoir, Off Kilter: A Woman's Journey to Peace with Scoliosis, Her Mother and Her Polish Heritage. Linda lives with her husband in Bucks County, PA.