Biso is traveling across Sri Lanka by train with her three children, escaping an abusive husband. Her love for her children and her pride are evident on every page of her story. The other storyline follows Latha, who's been taken in by a family and raised as a cross between daughter and servant, which is confusing to her throughout her life.
She scowled. Why [the family's chauffeur] insisted on talking to her as if she were an equal she had no idea. Didn’t he notice that she sat in the back seat with Thara when she accompanied her on occasion? Not next to him like the gardener did?The two stories are interwoven but take place within vastly different time scales: Biso's covers about twenty-four hours, and Latha's spans decades. Both stories are equally interesting, and the intersection of the two becomes clear near the end. Fans of mysteries will likely enjoy the intrigue; others may find the disparate timelines disconcerting, and the insertion of red herrings frustrating when trying to predict the relationship between the two.
“I don’t know why you suck your teeth like that. It’s such an ugly habit.”
The driver snorted. “Madam is in for trouble with you isn’t she? Sending you to school and all that. You better watch your attitude. Soon…”
This book isn't bursting with likeable characters. Latha's situation is understandably intolerable to her, but the things she does in response are cringe-worthy. This is an effective way of forcing readers to look at the larger issues, the societal factors that make this character who she is. But readers who are looking for characters to connect with will prefer Biso's storyline--that is, until the end.
The Soundtrack: I'm hoping to ask Ru Freeman for suggestions so this may change, but for now I'll go with a song by Ranidu, the first Sinhalese artist to be played on BBC's Radio1 and MTV.
This review is part of a promotional book tour, which I am participating in as a volunteer. The opinions are my own, and have not been endorsed or approved by TLC Book Tours, the author, or the publisher. Other stops on the tour can be found at the TLC Book Tours site.