“Beattie explores our humanity in its beauty and brokenness through women’s voices. Fictional voices of the marginalised have been inserted in the recorded history of the country, not to create an alternative history but to add to its rich, multi-faceted texture.” (Chiedza Musengezi, Zimbabwean poet and author)
“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?
In a novel that moves from the Firth of Clyde in Scotland to pre-independence Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia), from the illusory idyll of colonial privilege to the traumas of guerrilla war, Beattie explores the hidden lives and untold stories of those caught up in the dying years of white rule in Africa.
“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).
“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)