Follow Here To Purchase Another Woman's Daughter


Author: Fiona Sussman

ISBN: 9780425281048 

Publisher: Berkley

Parents are supposed to protect and nurture their children. Some are given every opportunity to care for their child and yet others face struggles and demands that many would and should never endure. Celia Mphephu realizes that she is a black servant and understands the limitations placed upon her and child. Within her own world she works in a white suburbs in Johannesburg in the 60’s in order to send money and help to her family. Raising and rearing her daughter, Miriam gives her pride and joy. But, the couple she works for see Miriam as someone that can replace the child they lost and with the uprising, violence and riots taking place they convince Celia to give up their daughter, claiming she has other children and state that they can give her a better life in England. Finding another job when her employer’s leave would prove difficult and the little money she received from them hardly enough to allow her to start a new life.

Throughout the novel you hear two voices that of Miriam and Celia as each one battles with their daily lives, their family strife and as Miriam learns more about a the Steiners you begin to wonder why they adopted her. She was more like a trophy that Rita won than the daughter she would nurture and care for. As the years go by Miriam befriends a young Indian girl named Zelda and her family becomes part of her life and more than her own. Celia meanwhile is struggle with her own life, identity and hoping to find a way to get her daughter back but the documents she shows to the people who can help her only alienate her even more. How far would a mother go to protect her child? Would you do what Celia did? Miriam feels out of place in England, a young boy takes advantage of her; Rita betrays her trust and things spiral out of control. The author brilliantly takes us back in time to where the riots took place, prejudice was prevalent and a young six year old child loses the one person who made her feel safe.

The author allows readers to hear Celia’s voice as she struggles to understand why her son Christian has to leave home, his hopes of being a doctor and the tragic end will anger readers as you learn more about the time period, the prejudice and the focus comes back to Miriam. Feeling that Rita really does not want her or ever did she meets a young man named David and their relationship blossoms until she realizes what she has to do. Learning about her roots, finding her mother and going back to Africa ignites a fear and hate in Rita that will separate them forever. But, with Michael’s help she learns about the letters her mother sent, the package with so many memories and a mother’s fears and tears.

The author continues with the journey as the years pass and Miriam changes her name back to her given name but not before we learn Celia’s fate and the kindness bestowed upon her by a white family. Searching for who she is and learning about her past sends her back to a place where Apartheid rules and the hope of finding her mother as choices are made and lives will forever change. When Miriam learns why her mother sent her away and allowed her to be adopted will she understand that it was a mother’s love? Africa proved to be a real awakening for Miriam as she and a young journalist travel to search and find her mother but to no avail. Addresses given of her former employers her hopes squashed and what she witnesses in the streets and hospitals is heartbreaking and heart wrenching. Watching a child die and seeing people beaten in the streets and not experiencing the true meaning of freedom and being alive, Miriam learns the definition of being Black and being considered a second class citizen. Sad that people are judged by the color of their skin and their class. 

Thabo was her outlet and her link to her mother when they learned where she might be from the white woman who took her in and saved her life. Sylvia Eloff would be forever remembered; as would her friend Zelda but now she would learn about her three brothers and decide where she belongs. The scenes are quite graphically depicted, the research into the time period extensive and a young girl named Miriam who need to learn the truth and the secrets that come up will hopefully define who she is and will become. An ending so compelling and gripping with a twist you won’t expect and a tragedy that will bring tears to you eyes as the author creates images that will remain in your heart and mind as you take the journey with Miriam to find herself and her true identity. Two women: Celia and Miriam each wanting only one thing: Each other!