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Set against the tumultuous background of apartheid South Africa, a powerful and moving debut about family, sacrifice, and discovering what it means to belong
Celia Mphephu knows her place in the world. A black servant working in the white suburbs of 1960s Johannesburg, she’s all too aware of her limitations. Nonetheless, she has found herself a comfortable corner: She has a job, can support her faraway family, and is raising her youngest child, Miriam.
But as racial tensions explode, Celia’s world shifts. Her employers decide to flee the political turmoil and move to Englandand they ask to adopt Miriam and take her with them. Devastated at the prospect of losing her only daughter, yet unable to deny her child a safer and more promising future, Celia agrees, forever defining both their futures.
As Celia fights against the shattering violence of her time, Miriam battles the quiet racism of England, struggling to find her place in a land to which she doesn’t belonguntil the call of her heritage inexorably draws her back to Africa to discover the truth behind her mother’s choices and uncover a heartbreaking secret from long ago
Growing up in a publisher’s home in South Africa meant that Fiona Sussman fell in love with language and the written word at an early age. Her house was always filled with manuscripts, books, and colorful authors. This was during the apartheid era, and witnessing the brutal regime at work sensitized her to the issues of injustice and racial prejudiceexperiences that would inform much of her early writing. However, the illness and untimely death of her father would see her change direction and pursue a career in medicine. In 1989, she emigrated from South Africa to New Zealand, where she went on to work as a general practitioner. While she found practicing medicine immensely satisfying, she still hankered after the literary world of her childhood. Finally, after some years, the call to write became too great, so she hung up her stethoscope and began to write in earnest. She currently lives in rural Auckland with her family and three petsa Labrador, a boxer, and an adopted chicken. When not juggling life with two teenagers, or working alongside her husband to manage the charity hospital they have established, she writes and loves it!