Olga is a young woman living in Jamaica and is the daughter of a Jamaican man and a white woman. When she has the opportunity to study dance in England, she seizes the opportunity expecting only to stay for a few months. However, when WWII begins, she is unable to return to Jamaica and instead decides to take up nursing. During her training, she is raped by an army doctor and finds herself pregnant which forces her to give up of her idea of becoming a nurse. Olga keeps her child, but does not return to Jamaica or let her family know because of her fear of bring shame to them.
Olga is told through actual newspaper clippings, diary entries, and letters, which usually I am not a fan of. I typically prefer narratives; however, I felt that the epistolary style really helped tell this story better. It helped to remind me throughout that everything I was reading about actually occurred and that these were real people. The diary entries also helped to explain what was going on in London during the war and showed a little of what it must have been like to be fearful of the bombs falling. I haven't read many stories set in Jamaica and Olga helped me to understand how similar it was to London and the US in terms of a large emphasis being placed on class, race, or even how dark your skin was. I really felt for Olga as I read about all she went through, but felt that she was such a strong woman. She didn't give up and tried to provide the best she could for her child, who is the author of this book. This was a very quick, but emotional read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.