Polly lives in suburban Britain in relative affluence, Kabita in the foothills of the Himalayas in comparative poverty. When the car in which their husbands are travelling plummets down a ravine the women’s lives become entwined.
Wishing to understand her deceased husband’s love for the place Polly journeys to Nepal; she is also armed with a gift of money for the bereaved family. Polly’s guide for the duration of her visit is the handsome and charismatic Arjun, and between the two there is a strong attraction. However, dare they risk a romance given that he is married and several years her junior?
Meanwhile, due to her financial dependence on her deceased husband’s brother, and to cultural attitudes both real and imagined, Kabita becomes ever more isolated. She is not the only victim, her children too find their prospects for the future undermined by the death of their father. Education is a luxury the family can ill afford and for Indira, the only daughter, there is another option. For as Arjun remarks to Polly, ‘Nepal is not much concerned with the affairs of women, only those of gods and men.’ Can Polly’s gift help to emancipate Kabita from the traditional beliefs of her culture, which blames the death of her husband on her own bad karma? And can the women find peace and contentment in their lives once more?
The novel is semi-auto-biographical. Although few of the events within the novel occurred as written, Pauline and a Nepalese woman were widowed within days of each other; and the book was written with the intention of any monetary gains going to the Nepalese widow. The real story that inspired the writing of the novel is explained on the inside cover.
Since the book was written, the Nepalese widow and her family of four children and two elderly in-laws have been made homeless by the earthquake. Clearly their need for financial help has greatly increased.
The author would like to assure readers that all of the proceeds of this novel will be donated to Nepalese family.