Men will want you like they want a glass of rum…One man will love you. But you won’t love him. You will destroy his life. The one you love will break your heart in two.
So says the soothsayer, when predicting young Celia’s future. Raised in the tropics of Tobago by an aunt she loves and an uncle she fears, Celia has never felt that she belonged. When her uncle–a man the neighbors call Allah because he thinks himself mightier than God–does something unforgivable, Celia escapes to the bustling capital city.
There she quickly embraces her burgeoning independence, but her search for a place to call home is soon complicated by an affectionate friendship with William, a thoughtful gardener, and a strong sexual tension with her employer. All too quickly, Celia finds herself fulfilling the soothsayer’s predictions and living a life of tangled desperation–trapped between the man who offers her passion and the one who offers his heart.
In Smyth's enchanting debut, set in Black Rock, Tobago, young protagonist Celia D'Abadie searches for traces of her absent lineage the mother who died in childbirth and the white father reputed to live in England. Raised by her aunt Tassi in the shadow of fear cast by her lecherous uncle, Roman, Celia is given a prophetic glimpse into her future from Mrs. Jeremiah, the village seer. At 16, Celia flees after Roman rapes her, and en route to Trinidad, she meets William Shamiel. Under the guidance of William's family, Celia secures a job working as a maid for Dr. Emmanuel Rodriguez, his fragile English wife, Helen, and their two children. Celia moves into their dysfunctional home and balances relationships with two men vying for her affection. As Celia and her employer become closer, Helen's dramatic descent into madness becomes more apparent. While the story line na ve boonies dweller moves to big city and learns about life and love has been done a million times, Smyth's deftly captured tropical landscape and superstitions are enough of a tweak to keep things interesting.