Moore's writing, every bit as compelling here as it was in My Old Sweetheart (1982), is even more sure-footed this time around, and so evocative you can almost feel the warm Hawaiian mud between your toes. Mamie Clark, at age 12, lives in the rarefied world of a sugar plantation in Waimea, Hawaii. She and her younger sister, Claire, spend their days in the heady scent of ginger flowers and on the edge of danger. They know how to catch water rides through the island's old irrigation ditches and how to pick leeches casually off their arms and legs to feed to Claire's pet mongoose. Mamie's mother, Mary, is devoted to gardening and vague about mothering. She's from Oklahoma, and Mamie understands that, somehow, her mother is not caught up in the spell of Waimea the way Mamie's father, McCully, is. McCully runs the plantation and holds family life together. When Mamie is troubled, it is her father she turns to--and her mother she yearns for. Then tragedy strikes the plantation in the form of a tidal wave, and life begins to fall apart. Mamie and Claire go off to boarding school and eventually end up on the island of Manhattan, under the jaded eye of their mother's sister, Alysse. Claire quickly learns to navigate through the murky waters of 80's high-life, complete with kinky sex and plenty of drugs. But Mamie drifts, watchful and apart, haunted by memories of Hawaii, until a new love gives her the confidence--and a shocking experience gives her the impetus--to go back and deal with the ghosts of home. Mamie is just right as a heroine--intelligent and passionate and completely trustworthy. Moore makes her story as real and mysterious as any island legend, as powerful as the scent of the white ginger flowers. A dazzler.