When Sharifa and her husband travel to India, she expects her time will be spent researching her great-great grandfather, a wealthy businessman and philanthropist. However, what she doesn't expect is to be swept up in the story of his four wives, oddly excluded from her family history.
As Sharifa's imagination is overtaken with these four women, she finds herself in the middle of another female-centered conflict–a conservative, religious ritual that has been going on for centuries. Khatna, or the act of female genital cutting, may be an age-old tradition, but women in India are now taking opposite sides, including Sharifa's two favourite cousins.
As she tries to find a middle ground, Sharifa's research excavates an unexpected truth, one that will force her to take a position in this rich novel about resistance and finding your way between cultural traditions and modern values.