A novel that begins with a lighthearted look at three sisters adjusting to a totally new life evolves into a sadly realistic story about economic dislocation and its effects on individuals, families, and communities. Although her mother left the family for a career, Quinnella Ellerbee, 10, finds life in a small Florida mining company town pleasant enough. When the company is ready to sell off the Ellerbee home, Quinn's father, Pa-Daddy, scrapes up enough cash to make a down payment on it and relocate it to a swampy lot he inherited. The site is a horror to Quinn and her sisters; they are without plumbing, electricity, telephone, or television. When Pa-Daddy loses his job, the only solution is for him to take a job with Quinn's great-grandmother, Nanny Jo. He turns it down. When word comes that a new mining company is setting up shop, it divides the town, as well as Quinn's family. To Pa-Daddy it means a job; to Nanny Jo it means losing her property. Pa-Daddy is nearly killed in a violent confrontation over the new company; Quinn has to deal with her guilt at her part in her dad's injury. McDonald (Homebody, 1991, etc.) has created unforgettable characters in a powerful tale; the setting is authentically evoked while the economic debate could be right out of the headlines of Anytown, USA.