Set on a small island in the Virgin Islands this is an atmospheric and emotional roller-coaster of a novel.
Considered to unlucky to be born during a hurricane, Caroline finds herself attracting bad luck. Caroline’s mother has inexplicably left her and her father and the postcards her mother was sending from abroad have stopped coming. Caroline is badly bullied and shunned at school and is always in trouble with her class teacher who cannot abide Caroline speaking her mind – which she does frequently. In addition, Caroline is plagued by a ghost woman in black whom she is convinced has stolen away her mother. Wrestling with feelings she doesn’t quite understand and with no-one to help Caroline is desperate for some answers as to why her mother left home.
Then a new girl Kalinda arrives and soon the two girls become firm friends – it is the first time Caroline has had a real friend and Kalinda promises to help find her mother. But as Caroline’s feelings for Kalinda begin to develop they threaten to destroy their relationship. In a final denouement during a hurricane, Caroline not only finds out why her mother left but that Kalinda does reciprocate her feelings.
Although the plot is fairly slim and develops slowly, the depth of feelings explored in this novel and the lush tropical setting combined with magical realism makes this book special. It is a beautifully written novel – almost poetic. It does not shy away from difficult subjects or raw emotion either but shows that, love, friendship and hope can win through in the end.