I very much enjoyed reading this book the other day. The book begins with the reader discovering that Pearl's mother Amy is about to come out of prison, having been convicted many years ago of having killed her husband, Barney. Pearl was brought up by her aunt and uncle. It all sounds really quite shocking, and yet, when Amy is released she seems to be quite a nice sort of person.
Then, gradually the truth unfolds. Barney's mother, who is mentally unbalanced, says to Barney that Amy and Barney's father have been having an affair (prior to this Barney had volunteered to fight in the war). It is all absolute nonsense about the affair, but Barney comes home in a rage and accuses her of this, and much else besides. Pearl, a little girl of only 5 years old, gets a knife out, trying to protect and defend her mother, but doesn't realise that she puts the knife into Barney by mistake and kills him. Amy cannot bear the idea of her daughter taking the blame for this, and having such an awful thing hanging over her for the rest of her life. So she puts her own fingerprints on the knife, and let's people conclude that it was her that killed Barney. And so she goes to prison. A very interesting and gripping story.