Mango Blood by Maryvonne Fent is the sequel to The 35¢ Dowry. After following Stefan to India, Minouche's life is transformed in far many ways than she could ever have imagined. Now married, the couple pursues different passions. Stefan studies at Madras University while Minouche studies Indian dance. Fascinated by an ancient Indian musical instrument called the veena, she decides to get a degree in ethnomusicology. Her marriage and academic endeavors are threatened when she chooses to help Laila, the daughter of a Brahmin, to retake control of her life after being raped by British soldiers. With her marriage tested, can she rekindle the flame she discovered when she first met Stefan?
Maryvonne Fent has crafted a story that brilliantly explores the conflict of cultures in relationships. The female protagonist, Minouche, is a young French woman. Stefan, her husband, is Polish. The couple decides to start their life in India. The setting is stunningly crafted, with strong historical and cultural hints. The brutal rape of a young Indian girl on her way home from her dance class introduces the conflict and the period that marked the last days of the British presence in the country. It will be interesting for readers to follow Minouche as she grows, immersing herself in the Indian world and developing a curiosity that will eventually bring conflict into her marriage. She is free-spirited, outgoing, and adventurous. The prose is gorgeous and the characters are intriguing. Fent flawlessly conveys the growth of the characters and elements that fuel the complexity of their relationship. The skillful meld of realistic themes with pathos will have readers emotionally engaged throughout the story. Mango Blood is the perfect portrait of a romance with fragile roots on alien soil, as delightful as it is thoughtful.