Saddled with student loans, medical debt, and the sudden news of her infertility after a major car accident, Shannon, an African American woman, follows her boyfriend to Morocco in search of relief. There, in the cobblestoned medina of Marrakech, she finds a toddler in a pink jacket whose face mirrors her own. With the help of her boyfriend and a bribed official, Shannon makes the fateful decision to adopt and raise the girl in Louisville, Kentucky. But the girl already has a mother: Souria, an undocumented Mauritanian woman who was trafficked as a teen, and who managed to escape to Morocco to build another life.
... an intense exploration of gender, race, and class rooted in transnational geopolitics and a tale that challenges readers to recognize the gap between sentimental notions of maternal instincts and the sometimes gritty reality of mothering ... The growing girl’s coming to terms with her two mothers, Shannon’s deepening self-awareness, and Souria’s precarious situation in the wake of her harrowing experiences of slavery and sex trafficking are all thoughtfully dramatized and strongly constructed around each compelling character. Townsend’s insights into self, motherhood, freedom, and love and her ability to illuminate multiple realities as this complex tale unfolds ensure that this is a gripping and provocative read.
... impactful ... In scenes both vast and intimate, Townsend brings to life the busy streets of Marrakech as well as the quiet suburbs of Kentucky. This moving story about love and loss will not easily be forgotten.