The lives of Shabanu and her family are governed by the winds that sweep across the Cholistan Desert and by centuries-old traditions. Like the winds that carry rain and violent wind storms, traditions are mindless of the desires of a young woman coming of age. Shabanu’s older sister is betrothed to a young man from a family of small landholders, and their father has arranged for Shabanu to marry by the next monsoon. Just as Shabanu grows accustomed to the idea the marriage plans are scuttled by a shocking act of violence.
The family is saved when a wealthy landowner falls in love with Shabanu. If Shabanu agrees to marry him her family’s honor and fortune will be assured, but she will live a life of servitude to his older wives. Her decision rests on whether she chooses to betray her family or herself.
Recommendations: starred reviews in Horn Book, Booklist, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews; recommend by The New Yorker magazine and The New York Times.