Pen is a story two pairs of sisters:
Pen and Tre the young sisters whose mother's
death opens the book and
their mother (who married unwisely) and
her sister (who never married.)
Their aunt tries and fails to take custody after
her sister's death. Pen and Tre are left to the care of their father, an alcoholic and an unsuccessful artist.
Sandy, a family friend, manages to hold the family
together. Sandy is an example of the man who does not quite fit—he is physically large, he is undervalued by his
family, he is not a gentleman or rather he is a gentleman who chooses not to live as one.
Pen makes a valiant effort to assume the role
as "mother" of the house. A deteriorating home situation causes Sandy to propose marriage to the much younger Pen as
a way to rescue the young girls. The drunken father appeals to his despised in-laws and the girls go to live with their
aunt. Time passes.
Like many Evelyn Whitaker stories, this is a
story about loyalty and honoring promises, keeping faith.
This book is an exceptional portrait of the effects
of alcoholism on the family.
The end sees the happy promise of marriage for