I remember Mary as the Bennett sister who couldn’t sing, but twenty years on from the end of Austin’s Pride and Prejudice, Mary’s life continues. In her desperation for independence, she investigates the plight of the English poor only to find herself in danger.
I wasn’t expecting this to be an engaging tale, but I should have known better because this Australian author has never disappointed me. A book I couldn’t put down when I needed a light read.
After Lily’s English parents are killed in an alleyway in Morocco, she is brought up by the Great Abdal 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.
When Moth escapes the cruel servitude of Mrs Wentworth, she ends up in a brothel where the madam sees her as an innocent prize. Although she is warned of the dangers, she is anxious to escape from the hard life she has endured.
I couldn’t help see a parallel between this book and the belief in some countries that a virgin will cure someone of AIDs.
If you enjoy this book, don’t miss MacKay’s The Birth House which is equally as good.