At a pivotal moment in 3 young women's lives, fate forces a choice. It will cost each woman dearly; it will change each destiny entirely.
What's in a name? For seventeen-year-old Gregory, it's a constant reminder of a man she'd rather forget—her daddy, Curtis. Hers is a name given out of spite by a man trapped in a life he never wanted. And although a young girl with a boy's name makes her the easy butt of jokes and the recipient of more than her share of strange looks, it's her mama that makes a regular target for his bitterness at the nature of circumstance. Over and over again Gregory's seen Mama bruised, broken, and battered. Until the day she's forced to choose—one life or another.
On the other side of the world, a magical Delhi night meant for celebration sees thirteen-year-old grey-eyed beauty, Aneeta, robbed of the one thing she can never get back. Violated by a thief she has both loved and trusted. Years later, when she finally finds the courage to reveal her ugly secret, she is exiled to another continent. Married into a family thousands of miles away. Traded unwittingly from one nightmare into another.
In Tokyo, Kameko sacrifices her own promising future to fulfill her dying mother's wish to see her married. For her it is not a choice, but a matter of duty. With the loss of her mother fresh and marriage still new, her career-driven husband is transferred to San Francisco. Isolated and alone in the foreign city, Kameko loses herself in trying to satisfy an elusive traditional ideal. But as she struggles to cope with her failure to become pregnant, her young marriage begins to unravel.
It is in San Francisco that the 3 women's lives ultimately intersect—in a college creative writing class. And they find themselves drawn into the beginnings of what seems, by outward appearances, an unlikely friendship. While class is the lifeline that binds them, it is the power of words put to paper that helps to peel back layers of guilt and torment and starts the process of breaking free from the shadows of the past.