15-year old Vidya is living in confusing times: India, 1941. Though many Indians despise their British occupiers, the threat that Germany poses to the world is equally frightening.
Vidya knows she is fortunate. She lives in Bombay, where her father is a well-known, respected doctor. Unlike her relatives, Vidya is bound for a university, not for an arranged marriage.
Then Vidya’s father is beaten by a British police officer and sustains incapacitating brain damage. Vidya is sent to live with her relatives, who expect her to marry early, have babies, and live a life of servitude.
Vidya finds her only solace in climbing the stairs to her grandfather’s forbidden library, where she can escape into the books and education she craves.