India. August, 1946. Everything is about to change.
Priya, Jamini and Deepa, Dr Nabakumar Ganguly's daughters, live in Ranipur, Bengal, safe from the rising turbulence in the country. When their father is killed on Direct Action Day, their world turns upside-down.
Priya, the youngest, intelligent and idealistic, is determined to follow in her father's footsteps and become a doctor, no matter how difficult. She is fortunate to have the support of zamindar Somnath Chowdhury, her father's best friend. Jamini, devout, dutiful and talented, helps her mother stitch kanthas to make ends meet. Hungering for affection even as she is resentful of her sisters, she nurses a secret desire. Beautiful Deepa, the eldest, all set to marry well, falls in love with Raza, Youth Leader at the Muslim League, and must face the consequences.
When India is partitioned, the sisters find themselves separated from one another, afraid of what will happen to not only themselves, but also each other. It is only then that they understand what it means to be independent, and the price one has to pay for it.
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's powerful new novel is a moving story of loyalty and love, nationhood and sisterhood, set against India's independence movement, at once exhilarating and devastating.