Aged eighteen, Tessa Dunlop went to post-Revolutionary Romania to work in an orphanage - to do something remarkable to help her get into Oxford. Once there she didn't want to leave and ended up staying for nearly a year. She returned the following summer, but this time chose a big industrial city where she taught English and befriended a student and his family. The youngest son, 'Vlad', was only twelve, shy and very intelligent. Once more Tessa was emotionally hooked. Back home in the Scottish Highlands, she organised for Vlad to be sponsored by her old boarding school. He aced his classes, but, conflicted in the wake of his extraordinary experience, turned down a full-time place. They lost touch; however, the pull of Romania eventually proved too much and, five years on, Tessa returned. Life would never be the same again.