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Synopsis

Meg Hutchinson's twentieth novel sweeps from the collieries of the Black Country to the sugar-scented islands of the Caribbean as it tells the story of a young woman who must suffer many violent wrongs before being saved by her own virtue, and by the love of a good man.

When her selfish, flighty sister leaves home following a false promise of becoming the wife of a wealthy sugar plantation owner, Alyssa becomes solely responsible for her poor, deranged mother as well as for Thea's bastard son. Viciously raped, then thrown out of the family home, the girl goes on the run, fleeing her cruel rapist.

Alyssa's journey is a perilous one. It will take her far from the Black Country to the wild shores of the Caribbean and put her in the path of evil men determined to despoil the young girl. For the palm-fringed island of Jamaica is home to a pernicious trade: white slavery . . .

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