This book has been such a treat to read. It's inspired me to read other of Maas' novels as she is a very entertaining story teller.
The setting for this novel is a little known South American country, Guyana. This in itself is fascinating as I have never read a book with this setting and its interesting history.
Rita is the main protagonist, who comes from a predominantly Indian heritage, although as we read her story we discover that most people seem to have an agglomeration of bloods and histories in them. Rita is a very self possessed young girl who doesn't fit the norm. She grows up with her widowed father until he re-marries. Marylyn the step mother is everything Rita is not, very feminine, conscious of her attire, their social standing and getting the right husband for her daughters. A step sister eventuates, Isabelle. And Rita's whole life is transformed. She mothers her baby sister and sets up a pattern of dependency which stretches throughout their lives.
The story spans most of Rita's adult years and her search for identity and purpose in life. This search leads her to her family in India, and a defining moment when she meets her cousin Kamal. He has his own search for identity and mission in life which is the rescuing of young girls sold into prostitution in Madras and Bombay. It's harrowing but obviously the author is deeply concerned for these girls and we can sense the desperation of their lives in slavery.
A story well written, researched and told.
I really enjoyed reading this novel, it is worth while and entertaining.