Finalist in Fiction for the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature
Jamaica, 1938. Gloria Campbell is sixteen years old when a single violent act alters the course of her life forever. Taking along her younger sister, she flees their hometown to forge a new life in Kingston. But in a capital city awash with change, a black woman is still treated as a second-class citizen. From a room in a boarding house and a job at a supply store, Gloria finds her way to a house of ill repute on the edge of the city, intrigued by the glamorous, financially independent women within.
It is an unlikely place to meet the love of your life, but here she encounters Pao, a Chinatown racketeer and a loyal customer who will become something more. It is also an unlikely place to gain a passion for social justice, but it is one of the house's proprietors who instills in Gloria new ideas about the rights of women and all humankind, eventually propelling her to Cuba, where even greater change is underway, and where Gloria must choose between the life she has made for herself and the one that might be.
Alive with the energy of a country at a crossroads, this is a story of love in many forms, and of Gloria's evolution - from a frightened girl on the run to a woman fully possessed of her own power.