Michelle Freeman: Strong-willed and opinionated: feisty, determined and independent. Knows what she wants and goes after it.
Mavis: Michelle’s stepmother: lacks formal education but possesses a sharp intelligence and innate common sense.
Grandma Miriam: Michelle’s maternal grandmother and matriarch of the Campbell family.
Richard Armstrong: Tall, good-looking; dreadlocked. Entirely too sure of himself in Michelle’s opinion, but captures her heart anyway.
Michelle Freeman, affectionately known as Shell or Shellie, was born in Jamaica but migrated to England with her parents at the age of three. At age thirteen her life is thrown into turmoil when she accidentally discovers that her father’s wife, whom she had always taken for granted as being her mother, is in fact, not. This shocking discovery leads her to begin a search for her biological mother. The search eventually takes her to Jamaica where she finds a large extended maternal family and develops a deep and abiding love for the island of her birth.
After leaving school and university in London, where she studied journalism, Shellie decides to leave the UK and practise her profession in Jamaica.
However, all is not plain sailing, as she encounters culture shock, prejudice and jealousy and comes to the realisation that her beloved island is not the idyllic paradise she had supposed it to be.
Set in South London and on the beautiful island of Jamaica, the story spans seventeen years, following the fiery and feisty young woman through her teenage years, young love and tragedy, and into adulthood and more conflicts and clashes.