“The Rice Mother” is a wonderful story of a Malaysian family saga tracing the life of Lakshmi, a beautiful 14 year old Ceylonese given into a misrepresented, unhappy arranged marriage.   Lakshmi will have 8 children and become the fierce matriarch of her family before realising she had grown to love her ugly, simple husband. The story is intricately woven and follows the lives of each of Lakshmi’s children growing up throughout WWII; living through the Japanese occupation of Malaya would bring heartache and shape the adult life of each member of the family. It is an enticing glimpse into life from 1916 to 2001 in Malaya; a page turner that makes the reader want to discover..what will happen next? “The Rice Mother” is Manicka’s first novel and won the S E Asia and South Pacific Region 2003 Commonweath Writers’ Prize. “The Japanese Lover” is her second novel which I thoroughly enjoyed.