So this was a weird book.
Large country sends traders and missionaries to small tropical island, historical check. Missionaries insist on correct one-man-one-woman and not this lax business of just be happy, lack of standards is immoral. Historical check. Large country creates school where little island children don’t see their families for most of a year, historical check. At least one of the teachers is a perv, historical check. Very bright island child brought into the meritocracy, what? Not so historical.
Baru wants to be the best so she can govern her island and people will be allowed to have whatever marriages they want, and no child will have one of her daddies killed in such an awful way. But she is sent to another place as administrator, to see if she succeeds or fails. She seems to be going about it the right way. About half-way through, the plot takes a left turn and I was left wondering how on earth this will further her private goals, or has she gotten caught up in local politics and forgotten her own-goal?
The ending was barely satisfying, but I will read the sequel if there is one, just to see if Baru ever goes home, and if she will be corrupted by Large Country or if she will try to implement her goals and get killed for it. Happy endings, I do not expect to see you.