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Ru Freeman's debut novel chronicles the trials and travails of two Sri Lankan women and their pursuit of freedom. Orphaned then absorbed as a servant into a well-to-do Sri Lankan family at the age of five, Latha Kumari grows up in tandem with the family's spoiled young daughter, Thara. However, Latha's mysterious origins and ambiguous caste ensure her a future of unpaid servitude in the Vithanages's household. Resentful, she involves herself with the man meant for Thara. This choice ultimately causes her loss and suffering. Alongside Latha's story is that of Biso's, who is fleeing a drunken abusive husband, a murdered lover and townspeople who whisper "whore" as she walks past. Biso escapes blindly to the salvation and promise of distant relatives in the north, but her journey with her three children across the country is tainted by murder and terrorism. The kindness of strangers runs out, but the end of Biso's tragic journey will end up being the promise of Latha's future. Freeman illustrates contemporary Sri Lankan life through the battles waged between lovers, friends and strangers alike in this study in dignity, strength of character, tolerance and perseverance. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.