Dorothy Mary-Jane, or “Dot,” is an ordinary twelve year old girl with ordinary problems until she sees her mother hit and killed by an errant red truck. The memories won’t go away; Dot lies down on her ratty Tinkerbell rug and swears she’ll never leave it.
Her unpredictable Aunt Tab swoops Dot off to London, saying England is where Dot will get her life back. Aunt Tab secretly packs Dot’s mother’s ashes. Dot packs her Tinkerbell rug and Dancing on the Edge, a silk collage embroidered by her mother with cryptic words from three famous historical English women. The trip goes from bad to worse as Dot is distracted by the preponderance of large red trucks in England, by Aunt Tab’s unexpected agenda with the ashes, and by an unpleasant but interesting English boy named Nick.
Along the way, Dot reads Frankenstein, and learns that this scary tale was written almost two hundred years ago by a teen-aged girl named Mary Shelley who turns out to be part of her mother’s mysterious embroidered message.
As the past becomes increasingly intrusive, Aunt Tab becomes increasingly irritating and Nick is increasingly present. Dot has to decide whether or not to run away with Nick, perhaps shadowing Mary Shelley’s own adventures. As she makes her decision, she packs the richness of the past into her own future without her mother.
Note: Appearing in this story as themselves are Dorothy Wordsworth, sister and muse of the great Romantic poet William Wordsworth; Mary Wollstonecraft, author of the radical Vindication of the Rights of Woman and mother of Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein and runaway teenage wife of the revolutionary poet Shelley; and Jane Austen, author of Pride and Prejudice and five other perennially popular novels. Time travel is involved. Also tarot cards.