“Rhodesia is sleep-walking towards its devastating civil war. Three women become entangled in that war and in relationships that harbour the seeds of tragedy. With great sensitivity and insight, Tina Beattie tells a haunting story of love and war that will long linger in the mind.” (Kay Powell, author of Then a Wind Blew).
“Msasa trees provided dappled shade for Jenny’s tea party. April sunshine dribbled through the leaves onto suntanned arms. The frangipanis were in bloom ...”
This is the scene that greets Scottish doctor Morag soon after her arrival in Salisbury in the 1950s. Jenny is an English wife and mother trapped in an increasingly violent marriage and secretly in love with another man. Soon, Beatrice will come to work as Jenny’s maid and nanny to her children. Over the next twenty years these three women will form deep bonds of affection, but can their loyalty to one another survive as the façade of white suburban life is shattered by war?
Jenny finds it increasingly difficult to hide her desire for the man she loves, but what will happen if her husband finds out? Why does the ancestral spirit of Beatrice’s grandmother come back to haunt her, and what terrible revelation will she make to drive Beatrice into the abyss of madness and beyond? Why will Morag flee through the night from an event so horrifying that it will traumatise her for the rest of her life, and why must she forever hide the truth of what she has witnessed?
“A compelling and captivating read. The story is a fascinating weave of black and white characters. I loved it despite scenes that deeply disturbed me, having been through those times. Tina Beattie has captured an essence of the time with precise and knowledgeable detail.” (Angus Shaw, Zimbabwean writer and war correspondent)