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An exotic, beguiling love story set in 1950s Singapore.

‘It was a special protection from the gods that Silver Frond’s beauty manifested itself only after the barbarians had left? A beautiful child-woman, in that intriguing in-between stage when people could not tell where innocence ended and seductiveness began, and were charmed by both.’

One morning in Singapore more than fifty years ago, The Venerable One – a wealthy, respected, handsome Chinese patriarch, head of a large household of three wives and many children and grandchildren – takes a walk by a cemetery. There, a young village egg-seller, Silver Frond, is amusing herself with a comic song-and-dance act based on popular gossip – about him. The meeting instantly changes their lives.

Is he not too old? Is she not too young? Are their worlds not too far apart? With characteristic verve and wit, Catherine Lim traces the struggles of an unusual couple through the jungle of human quandaries and predicaments created by the force of tradition, and celebrates the ultimate triumph of an even more extraordinary force – love.