This Cinderella story features a bounty that is awarded not by a prince but by an education. Adeline's commitment to writing, combined with the unfortunate dislocation of her family, allows her a way out of the dysfunctional relationship of her damaged, fractured family. However, Adeline learns the lesson that many heroes learn, that things can always get worse. Ultimately her story is about suffering, and about the basic attitude of herself in relationship to a family that mistreats her out of brokenness and confusion. In the end, the meaning is made even more clear as Adeline goes to Aunt Baba in her final days, with the hope of restoring the honor and health of her family and of her legacy.
Aunt Baba is like the fairy godmother to Adeline, and she helped Adeline to develop a healthy relationship toward women, given the difficult example of her Adeline's selfish, perhaps abusive stepmother.
Another main concern of the story is to address the question of inherited suffering, which occurs when emotional damage in the life of the parent is shown to be transferred to the child by systemic mistreatment, leading the child to develop depression and anxiety. In this novel, Adeline must overcome her natural temptation to hate her family and to despise her heritage, but her response is humble and willing to give her own people the benefit of the doubt. This entitles her to reap the reward of her inheritance through the untimely death of her step mother to cancer, suggesting that maybe the universe itself might be willing to reward virtuous behavior with swift justice and an inheritance.