On a rainy night in Philadelphia's Ninth Street Market, sixteen-year-old Fiora, newly-orphaned by the 1918 influenza epidemic, is dumped at an old man's door. Daughter of the local fortune teller, Fiora arrives with a little money, a lot of attitude, and her mother's formidable reputation. The old man, a widowed shoemaker ticking down his clock, is the only person in their superstitious immigrant community brave enough to stand between Fiora and an orphanage.
Fiora?s a modern, forward-thinking young woman, uninterested in using old-world magic to make a way for herself?but when her mother's magical curtain shows her that the old man will shortly die of a heart attack, Fiora panics, and casts her entire neighborhood into a stagnant bubble of time. A bubble where everything continues but nothing progresses?tomatoes won?t ripen, babies refuse to be born, and the sick suffer under the weight of a never-ending stream of unspent seconds. Not everything in the bubble is bad. Love, fresh and fascinating, ignites. Friendships take root. But as day drags into interminable day, the pressure inside the bubble world builds. Fiora must accept that not everything found can be kept, not everything saved will remain, and unless Fiora finds the courage to collapse the bubble, every one of her hopes will be trapped inside an unbearable, unyielding, unpredictable, and infinite Now.