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Bibliophile | Here Comes The Sun explores lives of Jamaican women

Here Comes the Sun
By Nicole Dennis-Benn
Oneworld Publications

Nicole Dennis-Benn was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica although she now lives with her wife in New York. She writes with a lyrical Jamaican accent and takes the reader to the tropical island where Margot works at the hotel during the day and consorts with the foreign hotel guests at night. Her money goes to sending her 15-year-old sister Thandi to a good school with the hope that they will eventually escape the squalor of an island that has a huge divide between the rich and the poor.

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The story centres on three women – Margot, Thandi and their mother Delores. The island paradise has some dark secrets and so do the three women. Margot has to keep her love for another woman a secret because two women were burned inside their house when they were caught together. Thandi is trying to lighten her skin in secret, thinking that she will be accepted by her classmates and Delores holds the secrets of generations of female exploitation.

With a distressing undercurrent of bigotry, class privilege and sexual exploitation, the three generations of women each struggle to survive in the best way they can. When plans for a new hotel on the island are released, the exclusive hotel is advertised as changing Jamaica for the better. No mention is made of the houses that will be destroyed or the people, including Margot, Thandi and Delores, who will be displaced. For them, survival means that they will be pitted against each other.  

This is a fearless insight into the broken lives of a people who have sustained an island paradise for wealthy people from around the world. As a reader, you will grieve the terrible conditions they have endured and hope that each woman can find at least a glimmer of happiness. Here Comes the Sun is a brilliant debut novel by Nicole Dennis-Benn that shows the other side of the sunny tourist destination. Bobby Bloom’s song Montego Bay will never sound the same after reading this powerful novel.

Lezly Herbert


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