This book has little to recommend it. The characters are cliched and Manicka lacks subtlety in the way she develops them. The story line is contrived and implausible from the beginning and doesn't improve.(Impoverished young girl tricked into marrying a supposedly wealthy man, taken far away before she realises the deception. Lucky for her though, despite her childhood poverty (oh yes, and the fact that she tells us on page 30 that she is trapped in the new marriage because she has no money of her own) she has actually secretly brought into the marriage a stash of precious gems she can sell off when things get really tough along life's pathway. This is just as well because things certainly do get tough -frequently). The devices Manicka uses are inept - eg, stories told retrospectively by different characters, some as children who amazingly remember more about the events than the adults who were actually involved - and their stories in places are boringly repetitive. The editors must have been having a holiday. The prose is saccharin and the metaphors are simply awful, so bad that I caught myself having a quiet chuckle in places that I think were meant to be quite tragic. By the half way mark I found it hard to keep ploughing through, but kept it up just to see if the next metaphor could out do the one before. I saw a review that compared this book to Kingsolver's Poisonwood Bible. Lovers of that wonderful book, please don't be taken in. They are both books, and there any similarity ends.