There is an unsettling feeling emanating from this novel; it is difficult to pin down but I think it is the menace in the story of abuse, both physical and possibly sexual. Based on a true story, it tells of a group of Australian child actors and performers in 1910 who travel with a Mr Arthur through Asia from Australia. To Posey it is a glamorous escape from factory work, but it soon turns out that there is much discord amongst the group. Told in two voices, those of Tilly and Posey (which are not different enough to make it clear who is writing) the text follows the young people across Asia, through Manila to India. Money is tight and two small girls have to hide under the railway seats when travelling to avoid paying fares. Money is not sent home by Mr Arthur as promised and the older girls rebel at his violent restriction of them. One, Eliza, is already his mistress. The young people sell photographs of themselves to stage door admirers, while Mr Arthur repels all suitors for the older girls. In the end there is a strike and an adult is told of the abuse and steps are taken to halt it.
Because of the two voices of the narrative which are not distinct enough, and the muddled picture the reader receives of what is going on, this is a story which leaves the reader unsatisfied, aware of things unsaid and unresolved.