I loved the ending of the book. It was bittersweet because the story of Savitri was sad as she lived her entire life at the beck and call of her male relatives, first her father, then her brothers, and finally her husbands. She only had only some respite when she and David lived their love in Singapore.
After she thinks that David is dead, she goes back to India. Her brother Gopal takes her to a shelter for unmarried women and there she has her baby. Around the same time Gopal and Fiona have a son as well, who they name Paul. Then Mani hits and kidnaps both children. Savitri tries to find out where her son is and uses all the means she can get hold of, but without her knowledge Mani convinced the nuns in the shelter to make Savitri sign a document in which she granted the custody of her child to her brother Mani. The problem was that Savitri can’t understand Tamil, another Indian language, which the document was written in, and during in labour she was in too much pain to have bothered checking what she was signing. Henry tried to prove that the paper was illegal to no avail. Her only resort is to talk to her brother Mani, and he just gives her a death certificate with Nat’s name. So after that, Savitri feels there is nothing else for her to fight, so she agrees to travel to the other side of the world and marry the man from the advertisement.
In Singapore David didn’t die. The Japanese soldier did bayonet him, but what saved him was the gilded cigarette case he kept in his breast pocket. Then he was imprisoned and spent the rest of the war in a war prison, helping look after the wounded. When he returns to India, he is brokenhearted to learn about Savitri, leaving to be married, and their son’s kidnapping. Mani finally tells him where the child is when David bribes him with money, but he is unable to let him confess whose baby died. So he gets Nat out of the orphanage, convinced he is his son, but at the same time Gopal also thinks it is his, but the problem is that after what happened to her son as well as the gang-rape she suffered as a young woman Fiona is now mentally unstable and keeps rocking a doll, which she thinks is her son.
In present time Saroj and Nat finally meet at Ganesh and Trixie’s wedding, and they recognise each other at once. Yet, Saroj panics and leaves without even saying goodbye. Nat tries to call her, but she doesn’t want a man in her life, and Trixie and Ganesh also talk to her but she won’t hear them out. Garesh also wants her to reconcile with their father, but Saroj is stubborn. Then some time after the wedding, Deodet has his third heart attack, and this time Saroj realises that she has things to tell her father. Deodet is unconscious when she first visits him, and she is shocked by how sick and old he looks, ad she feels moved and even cries. The next time she visits, she is surprised to find Nat there, talking and reading to her father, and from the conversation she overhears, she realises that her father has really changed. When she steps into the ward, there is a tense moment with Nat, but her father is overjoyed. Nat leaves at once, and she is disappointed that he didn’t wait for her or try to call her the next day.
Her father has stayed in hospital for days when Trixie and Ganesh bring up the problem of where Deodet will live when he is discharged. His elder sons and their wives don’t want him; Trixie and Ganesh plan to return to Guyana, but Deodet won’t travel by plane, and there is the problem that he doesn’t accept Trixie. So Ganesh suggests that Deodet go to live with Saroj, but she refuses, reasoning she can’t. So she says that it is sorted: Nat has volunteered to take Deodet back to India where he still has relatives. At that moment Saroj longs for him, so forgetting her pride, she calls him, and from them on they grow closer and closer.
Nat asks her to go to India with him where Nat plans to settle down. They spend wonderful days on the coast, but when they get deeper into true India, she gets nervous because she feels she doesn’t belong her. They reach the village, and Henry welcomes them as David is away in some home calls. Saroj has a nap and when she wakes up, she hears three voices. When she walks into the room where the three men are, she is welcome by David, and then her attention is drawn to a portrait. It is her mother, and she says so. It is at this point where the truth unfolds. David learns that Savitri died, and despite all the years that have passed, he still hurts. Then he reveals the story and how Nat is his son and Savitri’s. This means that Saroj and Nat are brother and sister, and Nat and Saroj want to believe that he is actually the son of Gospal. Yet, their hopes are crashed when Henry tells that he is definitely Savitri’s son as he and share a mole under their ears, and Nat touches it.
Saroj is devastated and that night she leaves the house and the city. Instead of travelling to London, she goes back to Guyana. She knows she has to forget Nat, but she finds it impossible. Then she discovers she is pregnant, so she and Trixie go to see Saroj’s all-time doctor, who she explains about the need for a termination as the baby is her brother’s. It is the doctor who discloses the truth, and then Saroj discovers the truth. Parvati, the nanny who her father fired for letting Saroj to play with the African neighbours, is actually Saroj’s mother. The woman tells her that she and her father had an affair, but he regretted it and confessed everything to Savriti, who agreed to adopt the baby. From experience Savriti knew what it was like to lose a child, so she was the one who came up with the idea of having Parvati as their nanny. To do that, people had to know the baby was hers, so that was why they spent some time in Trinidad and only returned when Saroj was born.
Back in London, Nat returns to her. He tells her how much he was hurt to see her gone, but he knew that there was something missing in the story. So he talked to his uncle Gopal, and he showed him the letter Savriti wrote. Gopal had told her about David and Nat, and that was why she wanted to return to India to see her love and her son, and she dreamed of Saroj and Nat ending up together. In the letter Savriti explained about Saroj being the girl she adopted. So everything was fine in the end. Well, not everything was fine, because it is so sad that Savriti never had the chance to see David again or meet her son.
In the epilogue, which happens three years later, it is Fiona’s funeral. The family gather, and Parvati has recovered her place in Saroj’s life. Saroj and Nat have made their life in India and have a little girl. The house where everything started now belongs to David, and on seeing it, Saroj has plans for it while she is studying medicine in Madras. Her plans is to build a school for the poor children of the town.
I really loved the book. It is beautifully written and I loved all the characters even when they were mean and selfish. My favourite character was Savitri, and it is a shame she wasn’t there in the epilogue.