Darya grows up in an Afghanistan village in the 1850s under an overbearing father. He brings home a second wife who gives him the son he’s always wanted. Before the second wife leaves the family, she curses Darya so no one will marry her.
Eventually, she is married to Shaliq from a Ghilzai tribe whose cruel treatment forces her to flee. This leads to a long and dangerous journey Darya could never have dreamed of.
In 1930s China, one tragedy after another seems to pursue Meilin. As a young wife she becomes a widow. Then with her four-year-old son, Renshu they are forced to flee the family home when the Japanese army approaches. After weeks of travelling by train, then on foot they arrive at a remote inland town where she believes they’ll be safe. Her brother-in-law and wife join them, but as the days pass, Japanese bomber planes reach their village. When finally the war ends in 1945, they move to Shanghai, until the Chinese Communist Party and the Kuomintang under Chiang Kai-shek fight for supremacy. Where can they escape to when it seems that their lives are in danger once again?
After being widowed in 1927, Blanchet took off with her children as skipper in her seven metre boat every summer to tour deserted inlets and abandoned First Nation villages. She cruised single handedly from her home on Vancouver Island along the Strait of Georgia between the Gulf Islands braving storms and engine breakdowns.
This is a wonderful memoir—a Canadian classic—that made me feel as if I was on an extended holiday to these beautiful and unique isolated locations.
After Lily’s parents are murdered in a Moroccan alleyway, she is brought up by the Great Abdal—a Sufi saint’s disciple—so that Lily has no affiliation with England. She trains as a nurse and moves to Ethiopia where she lives with Amina while working with Doctor Aziz. Soon the pair form a bond, but political upheaval separates them when Lily flees to England, a country she has never known. While Amina searches for her husband, Lily desperately searches for Aziz.