For readers who loved The Glass Castle comes a stunning, heartbreaking novel about an intrepid girl who challenges the injustice of the adult world.
It is 1970. 'Bean' Holladay is twelve and her sister Liz fifteen when their mother, a woman who 'flees every place she's ever lived at the first sign of trouble', takes off to find herself. She leaves the girls enough money for food to last a month or two, but it's not long before Bean and Liz board a bus from California to Virginia, where their widowed Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying mansion that has been in the family for generations.
Once they've arrived, money is tight, so Liz and Bean start working for Jerry Madox, foreman of the mill in town, a big man who bullies workers, tenants and his wife. Bean adores her whip-smart older sister, inventor of wordgames, reader of Edgar Allan Poe, non-conformist. But when school starts in the autumn, it is Bean who easily adjusts and makes friends, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn. And then something happens between Liz and Maddox...
'Tragic and comic at the same time... an outrageous story, one that will break your heart' Sunday Independent
'There isn't a shred of self-pity in this deeply compassionate book' Marie Claire
'Has immense power and readibility... What it does with aplomb is to track the birth of a nation: the conjuring of modern America from a scorched, dusty wasteland' The Times on Half Broke Horses