This story is set in the mid 1800s in Afghanistan, India and England. Darya is born a Muslim Tajik in Afghanistan. She is taught to be obedient and know her place in life (women are seen as little more than slaves). She does try but is curious and intelligent and consequently is continually physically abused by her father. Her father's second wife curses her and her life might as well be over as the village shuns her and she has no prospects whatsoever.
Her father sells her into marriage with a nomad. When Darya fails to provide him with an heir, he also starts to abuse her and finally forces her to run away in fear of her life.
This starts a very perilous journey from Afghanistan to Bombay and then further to England and more abuse.
This was such a sad story. The difference and segregation between the natives and the English colonists is frankly disgusting but common for that period. The naivety of the hero and his supposed good deeds is just so sad. The fact that there are people so willing to take advantage of unfortunates is also sad and has not changed throughout the centuries.
I found this book a little slow to begin with but once the reader gets into the book it is very hard to put down. I wanted to applaud Darya for her courage and strength and had to read to the very end hoping she would finally achieve a better life.
First Line: "I have always been told I was wicked."