'I knew then that there were some things not even Ruby could keep from me for ever and this was one of them. We were coloured girls in a white world that didn't want us.'
Born on the wrong side of a racial divide in apartheid-torn Cape Town, young sisters Ruby and Rose exist in a world where they are not welcome. As part of the Cape Coloured community they are considered socially inferior, yet even within their own social group the sisters live down the poor end of town. Their father was killed when they were very small, so when their mother dies after a protracted illness Ruby and Rose's fate falls into the hands of Aunt Olive. Ruby knows without being told that their aunt's home will not be opened up to them - charity does not extend to the poor relations who would cast a smudge on such a respectable house. Aunt Olive condemns her nieces to the local orphanage, relieving her conscience with monthly invitations to Sunday lunch.
In the orphanage the girls grow up sheltered from a divided world that they do not yet fully understand, but the day approaches when Ruby and Rose must forge their own paths in life and confront the lessons that apartheid enforces.
Like the award-winning Dance with a Poor Man's Daughter, this beautifully observed novel of sisterly love once again displays Pamela Jooste's poignant understanding of human nature.