by Lucinda Roy
This debut novel is the story of Jacinta Moses, the child of a passionate and courageous love. Her father, Simon Moses, is a black African writer; her mother, Louise, is a white British actress. Together the family carves out a vibrant life in South London filled with people drawn to Simon's powerful stories of the Africa he left behind. But when Simon Moses dies, Jacinta's mother descends into madness, leaving her daughter impoverished and alone, her only real friend, an unemployed thespian, Alfred Russell-Smyth. Jacinta longs for a better life, to surround herself with beauty, to run "high and wide and deep." As she grows older, however, prejudice - her own as well as that of others - leads her to make adventurous but damaging choices in her life. In her quest for happiness and security, Jacinta flees to the American South and marries a white man. But when her daughter, Lady, is born with a disability - ruining her hopes for a picture-perfect life - Jacinta travels with her baby and husband to Africa to search for answers in her father's homeland. Her experiences there change her forever, for it is in Africa, a land that echoes with her father's stories, that she is forced to draw on her family's great strengths and weave something brilliant out of their history of pain.
Paperback: 380 pages