In 1919, the Turners are barely scraping by. When their father loses his job and their tenuous place barely above the poverty line is threatened, their mother decides to enter her family into the world of vaudeville. The four Turner sisters agree on very few things, but on one point they’re in accord: none of them has any interest in performing. Nell is happily married with a baby of her own; 13-year-old Kit’s greatest wish is to stop growing taller; Winnie’s love of learning has her yearning for college; and Gert knows that she wants to live a better life than her mother’s.
Traveling by train from town to town, the Turner women find a new kind of freedom in the company of performers who are diverse as their acts. Along the way, the Turners face dangers and turns of fate for which they could never have prepared in a story of awakening to unexpected possibilities, to love and heartbreak, and to the dawn of a New American era.