A rich, colorful explosion of Indian culture spanning from Madras to Demerara, this novel is so vividly told and so skillfully woven that you'll find yourself visualizing the story as you go along, in full color with surround sound, smells and all. Three children, two countries, three stories, three different decades - separate, yet cohesively bonded into one epic saga. Nataraj (Nat), plucked from an orphanage in India by a white doctor, is given the chance to receive a good education, and quickly discovers within himself the power of healing. Sarojini (Saroj) lives a comfortable life in British Guiana, until she encounters racism and hatred, and repeatedly defies her ethnically blinkered father, having recognized inner beauty in other people despite external appearances. Savitri is a cook's daughter from Madras, the central character of the book, who despite her strict Indian family, manages to tie herself to the white family who employs her father, leading to a heart-rending sequence of unfortunate events. Flitting like a butterfly between the three stories, the author explores deep, dark issues of humanity, but these are not permitted to consume the story, as they are beautifully counterbalanced by love and respect, by breathtakingly descriptive passages and exotic settings. It's a period piece, a geography lesson, a mystery, a tragedy, a drama, a soap opera, but most of all a love story, not only for the central characters, but for the author to pay tribute to two countries that have made their mark in her heart. If you like sweet, sappy love stories, or rich Indian culture and tradition, or even if you just liked the movie "Monsoon Wedding", this book is highly recommended for you. Amanda R.