Angel Tungaraza runs a cake business from her apartment in the multicultural Rwandan city of Kigali. Angel is a businesswoman and wife, neighbor and confessor, matchmaker and righter of wrongs, and grandmother and mother to her five granddchildren since the deaths of her son and daughter. Angela sells cakes in order to keep the family afloat. She decorates her cakes with bright colors and fanciful designs. Her skill has brought her a wide array of customers, including an ambassador and her neighbor Ken, a Japanese American who works for the United Nations.
Parkin's novel is not without moral complexity, a story of hope and recovery for a country torn apart by genocide and aids. Angela is privy to the most intimate stories, some as horrific as those victims of the 1994 genocide.
It is really touching to see Angela as a surrogate mother in a wedding of truth and reconciliation between a Hutu and Tutsi.
This book conveys charming images of spicy sweet tea and mouthwatering cakes and humorous explanations such as how to deceive a dishonest tailor which are juxtaposed with heartbreaking accounts of child hobos living in dumpsters.
All the story takes place against a backdrop of social change, as African women in particular struggle to improve their lives and obtain education.