How many of us think as adults we've lost the vitality of childhood? And how many manage to find it again?
This is Rita Maraj's dilemma. Living in a ramshackle house in Georgetown and leader of the local neighbourhood gang, Rita collects people like she does dogs, cats, ants and even an unwanted police horse. But then her father remarries; and her stepmother is determined to tidy up house, husband and stepdaughter, and move into respectable society. Rita's charm and liveliness become compressed by the pressure to conform, and the duty to find a suitable husband.
But then a messenger arrives, searching for a possible heir to the distant family estates. Suddenly liberated and determined to search for her roots, Rita's sense of adventure is reawakened first by the formidable personage of her distant relative, but even more by the tragedies of her long lost, romantic cousin. Her early life - saving half the wildlife of her neighbourhood - is only preparation for the destiny that awaits her.