In the summer of 1959, 12-year-old Cammie, nicknamed Cannonball, lives above the Hancock County Prison with her father, the warden. Eloda, a well-behaved prisoner, serves as their housekeeper.
Cammie has one desire—to find a mother. Her mother died when she was a baby, and she’s never come to terms with her loss. So she searches. Will her new mother be Eloda? Or another prisoner named Boo Boo? Or someone else?
Cammie does all she can to accomplish her mission. But her frustration, disorientation, and anger increase when the confusion of puberty grips her and a tragic event shakes her world.
Still Cammie soldiers on, taking small steps to find love, peace, and security. Not until years later does she learn the truth of what happened that summer—unexpected ways in which love met and sustained her on her journey.
The Warden’s Daughter is designated for children 9 and up, but is better suited for children 12 and up with adult input because it contains some profanity and includes sensitive issues. It also deals with spiritual issues pertaining to life after death, but not from a biblical perspective, focusing instead on the idea that people become angels after they die. Still, the unique setting, suspenseful plot, and vivid characterization make this a book worth reading. (Alfred A. Knopf)