CHRISTINE WATERS had stood in a doorway and witnessed something life-altering. When her husband had stood in their kitchen doorway, she knew what that meant.
He seemed indifferent to not only the smells but also her exposed back. She became concerned about the payoff that would be for every stir and step of what she was cooking. The payoff was the list of indulgences that had become an expectation and that she alone chose from afterwards. She wasn’t so sure of such latitude this time around, this meal. That’d be a first.
His gaze was steadfast, and his usual calm coolness seemed to be vying for control.
Then there had been only four words. Not only did she hear them, but she also did believe that she knew what he would follow them up with, if she allowed him. So she proceeded to solve what she thought was not so much a mystery as an obscurity in about as few seconds as the number of words that she then spoke.
—An excerpt from the prologue
Book back cover
After having been renamed by her dying mother at twelve years old, Christine accepts her new name―Lena. But that name holds a painful, terrible secret. Her acceptance of it comes with guilt and the reminder of her shame and violation. Christine has remained silent about the events that precipitated her renaming and the real meaning of "Lean-a." Now thirty-three years old, she is compelled to confront her past because her marriage is threatened by her and her husband's mutual silence.
But Christine's silence is as deep as the meaning of her name. The women around her have also been silent, so she travels to Jamaica to address the cause of her own silence. By the end of her journey to Jamaica, Christine embodies the question that the narrative contemplates in the end: what might a woman's compromise be if she should face the perpetrator of the crimes against her that Christine herself has experienced?