This book is about family relationships, posing the question about just how much responsibility and sacrifice can reasonably be expected from any one person.
The story starts in 1880 when Edwina Booth is eighteen and has newly left school. It charts her life for the next five years. Her father is an actor, and Edwina devotes herself to looking after him. She supports him by attending his performances in the theatre, she sits beside him at press conferences, and she travels with him on tour and helps with all the arrangements. The most onerous is their German tour because she is the only one in their party who speaks German.
Edwina is concerned about her father as he frequently has fits of depression. This is partly because the whole family bears the burden of Edwina’s uncle, John Wilkes Booth, who shot Lincoln. As Edwina grows up she begins to see her father in a different light. She suddenly realises that her father uses people –– or, as she puts it, crushes people. Then she overhears part of a conversation and discovers that her father hopes that she will continue looking after him all his life. In other words she will not be able to marry and have a family of her own. Is this really what Edwina wants out of life? She thinks of her aunt who has done just that and spent her whole life looking after her mother.
Then Edwina gets the chance to marry a man who is independent enough to stand up to her father. Should she seize this opportunity? True, she has a responsibility to her father, but does she not also have a responsibility to herself?
Told in the first person by Edwina, it comes with a note on the sources and a bibliography. Very thought provoking. Young adult.