On her tenth birthday, Leah receives a surprise gift from glamorous Aunt Olivia, Mama's only sister, who lives in Los Angeles. It is a red rose box. Not many people in 1958 Louisiana have seen such a beautiful traveling case, covered with red roses, filled with jewelry, silk bedclothes, expensive soaps...and train tickets to California.
Soon after, Leah and her sister, Ruth, find themselves in Hollywood, far away from cotton fields and Jim Crow laws. To Leah, California feels like freedom. But when disaster strikes back home, Leah and Ruth have to stay with Aunt Olivia permanently. Will freedom ever feel like home?