Black Orchids

by Gillian Slovo

This is a family saga that travels from Ceylon in the 1940s to England in the 1950s and beyond. That racism was rife goes without saying, but this doesn't swamp the story, in fact it’s the inner family wrangling that takes up much of the book. There are no huge surprises, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s quite simply a rattling good read, best enjoyed on a Sunday afternoon with a nice cup of tea.


The downward pressure of her mother's hand on Vanessa's head grew heavy, and heavier still as her father turned to the stout figure of the headmaster's wife to give an exaggerated, flourishing bow before lifting her hand up to his lips. Vanessa loved it when her father did things like that - he was so funny - but she saw how the gesture made Milton scowl. But Milton must be mistaken because the headmaster's wife laughed - as did her husband - both of them quite loudly.



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