Ann is trying to make her way in the world and decides it is easier to dress and act like a boy. Ann is a woman recanting her early years spent in Dublin and the life she and her mother lived trying to do the right thing. When Ann's father a noted attorney turns to gambling he cashes out all he's worked to create. In debt up to his eyeballs he takes off.
Ann and her mother can only afford tickets on a slave ship bound for Africa and then America. Anne is only sixteen and witnesses more horror than her young years can hold. Her mother is shoved and subsequently dies after trying to protect a young African girl captured and now at the mercy of cruel kidnappers. The girl kills a kidnapper with a crucifix given her by Ann's mother. She then jumps ship to her death.
Ann and her mother refuse to play the role of “belly warmer” for the ship's crew. They make it off the ship and land in Charles Town, South Carolina.
Ann decides the work where she will be paid best is on a ship. She devises a male costume, binding her chest and taking on as many male characteristics as she can muster. Her new name is Bonn. She is hired and headed to Jamaica. Shes befriends Read, a lad who is also a woman underneath her clothes. Their friendship and relationship as comrades will last decades.
Read is with Bonn when a fine they owed to the ship master is paid . They make their way to Bonn's father. He has come up, slowing his gambling and has reestablished himself by supplying medicinal herbs to the villagers. He wants to kill Bonn, that is why he paid his fine. He lives on a sprawling estate in Province town. He shares with Bonn that he didn't believe the news stories, a woman was living as a man on a ship. He wants her to pay for ruining his life.
His involvement with his mother a mere waitress, was below his class level. He had tried to make things work but it wasn't worth risking his career. What would people think after all? An attorney and a waitress. So he left Ann and her mother, He wanted a son, he'd already lost one, when he left the woman he truly loved for Ann's mother. He passed Ann off as a boy in male clothing to try and raise his station in life. That she would try and change gender on her own was the past on repeat.
Now Ann/Bonn had this crazy boy/girl thing going on and it was an embarrassment. He pulled his gun as Read comes in and takes him down. Close behind were enslaved Africans who wanted to help Read and Bonn because the two had helped them. A slave resurrection with Read and Bonn doing all they could to help.
As Ann shares her story with her daughter she thinks of Read and how he didn't make it after the twice fatal incident with her father. She thinks about her travels and experiences and holds no grudges for the life she's led.
Best part of story, including ending:
I liked that Ann and her mom were survivors.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene was when Reed gave Ann advice for her feminine issues.
Opinion about the main character:
I liked Ann she would go the extra mile to get the job done.