This book is the embodiment of many issues of the darker side of today’s society. Auckland city is chosen because of her cosmopolitan features, as well as the presence of immigrants, new and old. There are mail order brides from all over the world. This story could happen in any big city in the world. Boorish blue collar worker Norman, reacting to his nagging wife, Diane of twenty years to improve himself physically and intellectually, indulges in a torrid affair with a young Polynesian girl. Diane’s drastic weight loss and obsession to success had driven him away, and they separate. Gary introduces Norman to a mail order bride website, while benefiting from this business arrangement.
Emma, the antagonist arrives in New Zealand; not the beautiful diminutive Filipino girl, posted on the website, but a fat and ugly almost forty, matronly woman. Emma cheats on Norman; resulting in a murder suicide of her lover Robert and Norman. Pregnant Emma is deported back to the Philippines with a resolution, “I will be back!” Emma returns to New Zealand as Isabella, a tourist and entraps weak-willed wimpy bachelor Gilbert to a marriage of convenience. Bored by marriage to a dull poor traveling tradesman, Isabella seeks solace and fun with one night stands. Isabella persuades Gilbert to adopt her love child from her liaison with Robert. Isabella meets young Jamie and makes him her toy boy showering him with expensive gifts while going into debt. Isabella is exposed, in the process Gilbert suffers a massive heart attack and dies. Mother and daughter rivalry turns bad. Jamie becomes her Romeo con man and leaves her. Christine is scouted to be a child model with the approval of Isabella. Unknowingly, Christine falls prey to Matt, a sex predator and child pornographer. The hideous business is exposed by a victim’s father and the perpectrators are sent to jail. Isabella’s heinous past is also exposed from across the ditch in Australia.
Christine runs away from foster care and joins a street gang and gets involved in all sorts of childhood shenanigans. The gang king pin makes her a child prostitute while pretending to be her lover. A serious car collision results in tragedy, three kids are killed.
Christine is impregnated by her client, and she adopts the baby out. She finds out Isabella is her biological mum who gave her blood to save her after her suicide attempt. The two reconcile.
Healing comes with love shown by Connie who takes it upon herself to stand by Christine. Connie and her Maori family show Christine the power of whanau.