Joan is a 14-year-old girl who lives on a hard-scrabble farm in Pennsylvania in 1911. She is the youngest child and the only girl. Her mother died when she was nine, and her father and older brothers treat her as if she were their personal house slave. She loves reading and education, but she only has 3 books, and when she tries to demand some respect for the work she does, her father burns them. She then decides it's time to leave and ends up in Baltimore working for a Jewish family. The book is inspired by the diary of the author's grandmother, so, like much historical fictions is a fascinating read. Highly recommend.