Two women from very different backgrounds each move to the Oakland, California from the Philippines for very different reasons. Beverly leaves Manila due to poverty and an opportunity in the U.S. that she never imagined could come her way and is determined to find happiness for herself, while Amaparo, though wealthy and privileged, is also forced to leave Manila after being banished by her family. She sets out to truly start over again, free from the confines of her mother, facing an incredible uphill battle in her new city.
The women eventually meet resulting in old secrets being unburied and lives being completely changed... as if leaving one's country with practically nothing isn't enough of a change.
Though I had a hard time initially getting into this one, I stuck with it and was pleasantly surprised at how well fleshed-out the characters were. Honestly, the description had me at "mail order bride" and I knew I wanted to find out what happened to these women! I found Beverly a bit more likable than Amparo and therefore wanted to know more of her story, though ultimately I ended up really caring about each of their women and their plight for success in Oakland.
I'm still trying to figure out why I like stories about mail order brides so much. Apparently, I'm weirder than I thought.
Thanks to Penguin for the review copy!