Set in 1970s Sri Lanka, A MAIDEN’S PRAYER is the entertaining story of affluent bachelor Berty Rajakaruna, as told with much humor by his precocious niece Tamara.
Because Berty refuses to conform to the traditional methods of finding a wife, he and his extended family face dizzying obstacles. As with many middle-class Sri Lankan families of the day, the family is steeped in astrology and superstition and holds rigorous ideas on individual roles and behavior. Such beliefs plunge them into comical situations and unexpected consequences.
The family is particularly keen to tie the knot on his behalf because of his inheritance. Berty’s great-great-grandfather was a Mudaliyar – an official — under British colonial rule. He owned a magnificent house and property, which rightfully belongs to Berty, but it is being unfairly occupied by his sister. The family believes that marriage, and the production of an heir, will legitimize Berty’s claim to the property and will restore family pride.
Berty’s niece, Tamara de Silva, is a feisty 12-year-old. Like him, she questions the traditional rituals that govern their lives, and rebels against them.
When Tamara experiences her very first menstrual period, she must suddenly adhere to acceptable “ladylike behavior.” She is confined to her bedroom for a week with a tribe of maternal aunties puttering around her, changing her normal routines and dispensing ready advice about how she has now become a woman and what she must and must not do.
But the week that changed Tamara’s life is nothing compared to what lies ahead for Berty and the family.
A Maiden’s Prayer is an enchanting trip into a distant culture. A Sri Lankan family struggles to marry off its 35-year-old playboy relative before his romantic exploits can shame everyone. Funny…charming…filled with authentic detail…the characters and incidents live long after the story’s final words. Highly recommended! : Mel Weiser, author On 174th Street: The World of Willie Mittleman.
In A Maiden’s Prayer, author Srianthi Perera has masterfully woven together an engaging tale set in 1970s Sri Lanka, amid the backdrop of a tumultous political and economic climate. The story is beautifully narrated by Tamara de Silva, neice of the main character, Berty Rajakaruna. The relatable tale illuminates the intricacies of familial bonds and the influence of such relationships on life events.: Lilia Fallgatter, author of The Most Important Letter You Will Ever Write.