by Zee Monodee
A few facts about the trilogy & Mauritius, location of this series
- The Island Girls trilogy follows the 3 Hemant sisters – Lara, Neha, Diya – over the span of the 2000-2010 decade, chronicling the changing face of the Mauritian society over that crucial period.
- Book 1, The Other Side, is Lara’s tale when she returns to Mauritius as a divorcee. Suddenly tagged with the scarlet letter of divorce, she reaches a crossroads when she meets the one that got away, Eric Marivaux, a white Mauritian native. Fear of society’s reprisals in the past kept her from going for the ‘elite’, aristocratic-like Eric. Now that she stands on the other side, is this the impetus she needs to take a chance on Eric again?
- Book 2, Light My World, is Diya’s hilarious quest to find Prince Charming in the sea of frogs that is Mauritius (well, what it is according to her perception!). Follow her on this desperate mission in September 2013.
- Book 3, Winds of Change, follows Neha as she must come to terms with widowhood and the fact that her marriage has always been a sham. In waltzes a man with the ability to make the perfect, ‘saintly’ widow she is burn with passion like she never suspected existed. Will the saint turn into a sinner, or find her rightful place simply as a woman? Find out in November 2013.
- Mauritius is a small tropical island in the southern Indian Ocean. There are no real natives, and the land has been entirely populated by immigrants. Under Dutch rule in the 17th century; French rule until 1810; then a British colony from 1810 to 1968 when it reached independence, the island is a mix of races and religions.
- Despite all races, cultures, and religions living together in harmony in what is termed ‘the rainbow nation’, an unspoken segregation still exists where descendants of colonizers (mainly the French who remained despite British rule) and descendants of African slaves, Indian indentured labourers, or Chinese traders.
- A sectarian outlook still prevails; communities, ethnicities, and religions, tending to stick together especially in matters of marriage and love. Interracial and/or multicultural alliances, though existing, are not the norm and tend to be frowned upon.
Excerpt from The Other Side:
“You’ll never guess who I met the other day,” she said.
Sam stopped crying and dried her tears with a delicate stroke of her finger. Lara couldn’t resist a frown at how the perfect face was not marred by crying. Trust her perfectionist BFF to use only waterproof makeup.
Better get back on the topic. Her throat closed for a second, refusing to allow her vocal chords to utter the sound of his name, because saying it aloud would change everything.
But she was doing this for Sam. So she leaned forward and dropped her voice to a low, conspiratorial tone to share the confidence. “I saw Eric.”
Sam’s eyes grew wide as she bolted upright in her seat. “Get out of here! You met him? And is it the same person I’m thinking of?”
Lara smiled, happy to see the mood back to friendly chatter. She nodded. Sam was the only person who knew of her past with Eric.
“Well, are you just gonna sport such a dumb smile? Come on, out with it. I want all the details.”
Sam’s voice thrummed with excitement. Lara laughed, and recounted the meeting at the clinic.
“Okay, the real question I want you to answer. Was he wearing a wedding ring?” Sam asked as Lara finished her tale.
The elation of sharing the confidence crashed, the shards wrapping around her like tendrils of choking agony. “He had a ring on his right hand.”
“So he’s not married.”
“You’ve forgotten how European, and especially French men wear wedding rings on the right hand.”
“No, but this convention means squat in Mauritius. If it’s not on the left hand, the ring means nothing.”
Damn it all to hell—could there be hope? Could Eric be unattached, after everything that had happened?
And where on earth would such confirmation get her? Eric was out of her league, always had been. The sooner she reinforced that in her mind, the better.
“Come on, Lara. So this means he could be free, and what you saw could’ve been a misunderstanding—”
She shot to her feet. “I know what I saw, Sam. The photo didn’t lie, and the paper said he and his French floozie named Sophie de-whatever-bollocks were expecting their first child.”
“Still, it doesn’t sound like Eric,” Sam said in a soft tone.
Lara whirled around to stare at her friend. “Excuse me? I remember thinking you’re the one who wanted to lead a mob to rip the skin off his spine when you found out.”
Sam rolled her eyes. “Don’t I recall that.”
“Then what the heck are you talking about today, giving him the benefit of the doubt?”
“Because life is short, you idiot. And we’re all older and wiser today.” Sam paused. “Tell me, sincerely, would you refuse if you were given a second chance?”
The slow burn of anger, combined with the bite of disappointment and the sharp rips of crushed dreams, slashed their way through her. “You know what? If that happened, I definitely wouldn’t care.”
“The more fool you, then,” Sam said.
“Oh, bugger off, you sanctimonious cow.”
Sam snorted. “Trust me, we are so not done with this topic.”
And that’s exactly what has me worried. Lara turned her head the other way. She couldn’t bear for Sam, the woman who’d always read through her like an open book, to see how a senseless part of her would grab on to the mere hope of another chance with Eric if one ever came within a hundred miles of her.
Book 2, Light My World, releases in late September, while Book 3, Winds of Change, releases in November this year. Stay tuned for more about this trilogy.
From Mauritius with love,