Anya, a 17-year-old high school graduate, can't wait to marry her high school sweetheart and have a secure and stable life with him. Even when Russia is thrown into political turmoil and economic hardships, from food shortages and long grocery lines to exorbitant prices and late-night monetary reforms, Anya believes that love will persevere. Then, life takes an unexpected turn, and Anya has to face deceit, betrayal, and humiliation from the person closest to her.
As Anya struggles to regain control of her life, she finds herself in a small northern town on a Soviet submarine base where she is faced with the new challenges she could not have imagined. What happens in that town tests Anya's passion for life, her ability to love, and changes who she is in fundamental ways, as fundamental as the changes in Russia itself.
Anya's story, with its loves and tragedies, is played out against the background of the Gorbachev years and the collapse of communism. The disintegration of the old comfortable Soviet system is mirrored perfectly in Anya's own life as her sense of security is threatened, both by the precariousness of everyday existence in a crumbling state and by the shocks in her own love life.