In South Africa in 1930, Ada is born to Cathleen Harrington’s housemaid. Despite the country’s racial divide, Ada says Cathleen makes her “feel like I was hers too.” When Cathleen, a capable pianist, realizes Ada’s musical abilities, she tutors her, opening up worlds of music as well as future avenues for employment and recognition.
In her late teens, Ada runs away because she is pregnant. After she gives birth to a mixed-race child in the townships, Cathleen seeks and finds her. As South Africa descends into the dark night of apartheid, Ada wonders, “Why should the matter of skin be subject to rules?”
This epic novel with subtle commentary about the Dutch Reformed Church’s support of apartheid spans Ada’s lifetime, exploring the spiritual struggles and victories of a skilled black pianist as well as the pains of a nation laboring toward a hopeful future.
Note: At this time, the book is available in Canada (U.S. readers can order from Amazon.ca); it will be available in the U.S. in December of this year. (Headline Review Books)