Adversity McAllister is strong-willed and she wants to keep the other children at the orphanage happy. Matron Maddock made them all miserable. As the daughter of two wonderful actors who travel the land as ‘The Famous Shakespearean Theatrical Troupe’, she knows how to she put on a show. Her cockatiel Macbeth is part of her act. He recites Shakespearean quotes. Addie loves him and watches out in case Matron should get clerk Algernon Parris to lock him away. Putting on a show for the other children also helps her forget being left by her parents. Matron had told her that her parents had died in a flooded creek and that she was now her legal guardian.
Addie knows Matron is mean but it’s only when she sneaks into her office to find a key to rescuing Macbeth does she learn the whole truth. Macbeth was in danger of being killed but she was also in danger. She discovers a child trader is on his way to the Orphanage to collect her as she’s being sold. She has to leave before Scrimshaw could get his hands on her. With the help of Mary the cook and Thomas, the gardener, who gives her his gypsy caravan, she runs away to Emu Creek. There she hopes to find a camp and a new family with lost boys who live in hiding. When she meets Sam, she thinks she might be in luck, but things don’t turn out that way.
Matron Maddock’s black Buick has followed and her new friends send her away as she might put them in danger. Worse still, Scrimsaw the devious man has discovered her escape from the orphanage. He wants his money so he chases after her.
The historical context of the Great Depression and the underlying expectation that children could be bought and sold and no one would bother about it. What’s the life of one feisty red-haired girl who can sing and act worth? And, would anyone miss her? Her steadfast friendships help her through, especially the little yellow cockatiel Macbeth and her friend from the orphanage Jack.
I loved this book, I bought it off Sheryl on Wednesday at an SCWBI meeting in Burleigh, started it on Thursday, finished it on Friday. Young adults books are my favourite genre.
I will treasure the signed copy and Sheryl’s note. I did enjoy Addie and Macbeth’s adventures, and believe ‘All the world’s a stage’. Thanks so much, Sheryl Gwyther. Now to share this adventure with my granddaughters will be a joy.