Chapter 1: Gemma tells her famous story "Briar Rose" to her three granddaughters, Sylvia,Becca,and Shana. Even though they have heard the story many of times, they love to listen to the story and recite the words together.
Chapter 2: Becca and her sisters go to visit Gemma at the nursing home. Becca, Shana, and Sylvia stay with Gemma even though she is asleep for most of the time. When the two sisters leave, Becca decides to stay and Gemma reveals to her that she is Briar Rose.
Chapter 3: Gemma is again telling her fairy tale to the girls, but Becca seems to be the only one who wants listen. As Gemma starts the story, Shana and Sylvia make their way in to listen. Becca comforts her grandmother as she gets a horrible feeling about the curse in the fairy tale "Briar Rose".
Chapter 4: Gemma passes away and the funeral is held at Becca's house. She keeps herself occupied so she doesn't get too upset. She can't take her mind off the fact that Gemma told her that she was a princess. After the children are in bed and the guests are gone, the Berlin family finds a box that contains Gemma's personal things. It was kept as a secret for many years and was not taken out until now. There are many miscellaneous items such as pictures and different papers that describe someon'e life. Becca decides to use the supplies in the box to help her keep her promise to Gemma to find out about her past.
Chapter 5: Becca had her friend, Shirley overnight for the first time and Gemma was telling her famous story "Briar Rose" to the girls before they went to bed. Shirley disagreed with the way Gemma told the story and Becca argued back that it is the right way to tell it. Shirley never slept over again, but the girls remained friends.
Chapter 6: Becca could not sleep that night so she got up at about two o'clock and searched through the box. She perused through the papers and pictures once again and sat there bewildered. After thinking through everything and talking to herself many times, the rest of her family started to come down to breakfast. At that time she had organized all the papers in an orderly pile and had fallen asleep on the table. Her mother told her to go up to bed and to come back to the papers later. After telling her mom to keep the piles away from her sisters she finally did go up to bed.
Chapter 7: Becca is graduating from kindergarten and she asks her grandmother why she always tells the story of "Briar Rose" (Sleeping Beauty). Gemma answers the question by simply saying she likes the story. Gemma warns her that when she is older she will not want to listen to the story, but Becca assures her that she will always want to hear the fairy tale. As Gemma carries on with the story, Becca asks the question if a hundred is a lot, and Gemma answers that a hundred is forever.
Chapter 8: Becca got up later that afternoon and she went back to the papers, her mother had kept her promise and the piles were still neat and tidy on the dining room table. Becca decides to go to her office in the Advocate to think about the box, and the mystery the box had inside of it. At her office she ran intoher editor, Stan who makes her feel like a schoolgirl. After talking to Stan she called Palladium-Times to find out dome more information on her grandmother. She asks for some copies of the old articles and hopes that they will help her discover the truth to her grandmother's past.
Chapter 9: As Gemma continues the tale of "Briar Rose", Becca is curious to know what a "barb" is, so Gemma descrfibes what it is and helps little Becca understand more of the story.
Chapter 10: Becca finally receives the clippings form the newspaper she wanted and the house is quiet and peaceful due to her two sisters and their families going back home. Becca reads the papers, which has questions and answers that could possibly belong to Gemma. While Becca reads through the survey, she wonders whether it is Gemma's or not, some of the answers make sense and many do not. Becca wants to find out more do she calls the Town Hall to get help with the pronunciation and some of the answers to her own questions. She shares her findings to Stan and they agree to work on the discovery together.
Chapter 11: Gemma carries on with her story and Becca and still filled with curiousity. While Shana and Sylvia are goofing off and teasing each other, little Becca asks the questions that she is yearning to know the truth about.
Chapter 12: Stan comes over to Becca's house to work on Gemma's story, Becca fills him in on the information he does not know. As she starts to tell him the facts he decides that they will travel to Fort Oswego tomorrow to work on the story. The next morning Becca was up bright and early to meet Stan for their trip. Becca and Stan have long chats about many different topics on the way there. They stop and have a picnic sometime along their travels. Once they arrive at Stan's friend, Samantha's house, they go in, have lunch, and meet the family. Samantha invited some of the residents of Oswego who might be able to help Becca. Becca and Stan listen to their stories, ask questions, and get some answers. When it is time for them to go, one of the residents says for Becca to call him whenever she needs to know something. They leave and Becca begins to become satisfied because she is starting to reveal her grandmother's past.
Chapter 13: As little Becca lies in bed, sick with pneumonia, Gemma continues to tell "Briar Rose". Even though she is ill, Becca still constantly asks questions of the story she has heard a myriad of times. Becca falls asleep as Gemma gets into the fairy tale.
Chapter 14: Becca comes homes from Fort Oswego and is still unsure about many things on Gemma's story. Becca and Stan decide that they will go through more of the facts tomorrow over lunch. The next day, Stan and Becca are having another picnic and they discuss the different facts they each know and help each other understand the things they are both confused about. They get stuck on one question in the survey, What was your last permanent address? The answer is crossed out so it is very hard to comprehend, they both try to read the crossed out word and find a couple of letters that they can understand. Later Becca decides to call someone to help her out, she soon finds out that the word was called Kulmhof and it was an extermination camp that Gemma escaped from. There is just one thing wrong though...no woman has ever escaped Kulmhof alive.
Chapter 15: Gemma and Becca are going on a class trip and Gemma is telling "Briar Rose" again. As Becca asks Gemma to explain some things she doesn't understand, Becca's friend Barney disagrees with Gemma's story. Gemma is offended and doesn't say another word for the rest of the trip.
Chapter 16: As Becca sits at the dinner table bewildered about Kulmhof and how Gemma could have been there her family tells her to eat, but Becca refuses. Since Becca can not find any more information on the camp, she decides to call a University to find some helpful facts. She found what she was looking for and came to the conclusion that she will be going to Poland to do some more research. Becca tells her family about the trip and they do the exact opposite of encourage her to go. Her famous response to them is that she promised Gemma and that she intends to keep that promise.
Chapter 17: Gemma continues to tell the fairy tale and all of the girls are confused at this point, except for Becca. As Gemma tries to explain the story to the two older girls, Becca reassures Gemma that she always understand the story.
Chapter 18: Becca is off to Poland and with her plane being late she decides to take another look at the photos and papers from Gemma's box. Once she is in Poland she looks for her translator, a woman named Magda, who will help her get through the country with no problems. When the first meet, Magda and Becca are surprised to see each other. The girls take a taxi to Magda's home to meet Auntie (Magda's aunt). They meet Auntie and then they are off to their hotel for the night. They are both ready to start finding the truth to Gemma's past.
Chapter 19: As always Becca wants to hear "Briar Rose," so when her sisters think they have heard the story enough and leave the room, Becca stays and listens to the whole story with Gemma.
Chapter 20: Becca and Magda are on their way to the hotel, they will be going to Chelmno (Kulmhof) soon. Becca shares what she has learned about Gemma in the past couple of days. When Becca tells Magda that Gemma was a princess and then says the polish name for princess (Ksiezniczka), Magda is amazed. On the way there, they stop and have gingerbread and tea, Magda absolutely loved it! They get to their hotel and are in for the night. Becca is hoping that coming to Poland will reveal the truth to Gemma's past.
Chapter 21: It is Halloween night and Gemma is continuig telling Sylvia, Shana, and Becca "Briar Rose". Sylvia and Shana agree that Gemma shouldn't be retelling the story on Halloween, but Becca encourages her to finish.
Chapter 22: Magda and Becca ride into the town of Chelmno to a little church and try to ask questions of people about what happened at the concentration camp. Most people wouldn't speak of the concentration camp, but the only person advailable to help was a priest named Father Stashu. He informed Becca and Magda that fifty years ago, the Germans took over the town and renamed it Kulmhof, and murdered Jews, Gypsies, Poles, Communists, protesters, and a few priests as well. Also, Father Stashu told Becca that the church was a schloss, which means castle, but it was ruined in World War I, and it was there that the prisoners were brought for death. Lastly, the priest calls an old friend Joesf P. to give the girls more information about the past.
Chapter 23: Gemma had brought Becca to the Three Country Fair. It was her first time going to the fair, and they waited in line to go on the Ferris wheel. Gemma had started Briar Rose to keep Becca from becoming over-exicted.
Chapter 24: While waiting in the lounge of the hotle for Joesf to arrive, Magda and Becca try to piece together what Gemma did at schloss. When Joesf Potocki arrives, Becca asks if he would educate her on the history of Chelmno. Becca tells Joesf that her grandmother might have came from Chelmno, but when she shows him a picture of Gemma, Joesf gets very overwhelmed with emotion and promises Becca and Magda that the next day he will go into detail about his story that involves Gemma.
Chapter 25: Joesf starts his story off by intruducing himself as the last child and late of a large family whose connection with the aristorcracy was more a matter of long memory than money. He lived in Europe, and he had went to Paris to Vienna to Berlin with as little thought, writting for the small theaters and being passionate about his leading men. He was in love with a man named Alan. Not long after he had fallen in love with Alan, he Joesf was captured and became a prisoner because he was homosexual.
Chapter 26: The Germans continued to treat the Jews and Ploes terribly, and demanded them to take off their clothes and roll around on the freezing snow laying on the ground untill they died. Joesf survived and escaped.
Chapter 27: When Joesf escaped, he had escaped with a man named Henrik. Joesf quickly became partisan and followed Henrik's demands. They lived in the forest for four months of winter. Henrik and other persains tried to fight against the Germans, but as a result they died. Joesf was the only one still living.
Chapter 28: Joesf went back home to his stepfather's estate and alive and unharmed, and began to plot his next move.
Chapter 29: Joesf finds another friend named Avenger who has his own group of friends of his own who are all trying to escape from the Germans. They find a pit full of dead bodies, but one person was still moving. She was a woman who Joesf gave CPR to to save her life. She lived, but the woman did not talk or say her name. The only thing she remembered was a fairytale called "Briar Rose".
Chapter 30: They game the girl the name Ksiezniczka which meant princess in polish. She and Avenger fall in love and wish to be married. When they were wed, Avenger and a few other men were killed. Only Joesf and Ksiezniczka were the only ones left alive. Joesf helped her escape to American safely.
Chapter 31: Gemma continues to tell the story of Briar Rose to the children when the prince kisses the princess awake.
Chapter 32: Becca and Magda had listened to Joesf's story and thank him for helping Becca understand more of her grandmother's past.
Chapter 33: Becca returns home to Stan and they live happily ever after.