The book for review is “The Hired Girl” by Laura Amy Schlitz
Meet our main character Joan Skraggs who is 14 years old. She lives and works on a farm with her father and three brothers. Normally she would be in school but since her mom has died she is needed at the farm something her father is adamant about. Joan misses her mom, misses school and especially her teacher who loans her books to read repeatedly. She does have three books to her name thou. The year is 1911.
But Joan wants more. The long hours, thankless job and abuse fills her every waking moment. There has to be more for her, something her mom told her, to do more and get educated.
Reading over some scraps of newspaper she reads in the classified for girls to be hired to do a number of things. It motivates her to leave, without letting her family know, and to make her way to Baltimore and find a family to take care off. But this time she will get paid for it. Not having much to call her own she packs her things and takes off and plans on never to return.
Getting to Baltimore she finds a home of a traditional Jewish family who follows the rules of their religion. They consist of a father, mother and four children, two boys and two girls. And a maid who has raised the father since he was a little boy. She is an institution. They are not getting rid of her. Instead Joan who now takes the name of Janet is hired to help ease the workload. Telling them she is 18 she is hired.
It is not as easy as simply working for a living for pay. Joan falls in love with one of the sons, narks on another and gets the last one in trouble with his girlfriend. She is on a roll all while trying to stay low-key and just do her job and earn her six dollars a week.
I really liked this book. There were a few twists at the end that wrapped up the book nicely. The pace worked well and the characters nicely developed.