Award-winning author Jasbinder Bilan’s third novel combines the magical atmosphere of a fairy tale with the realistic setting of a remote Scottish island. Here, Aarti and her forbidding Aunt, whose volatile moods Aarti struggles to predict, live a solitary, hand-to-mouth existence. Aarti has only her beloved companion Chand, a wild fox, and a treasured book of Indian myths to comfort her. Aarti has been told that Aunt adopted her when she was orphaned as a child, but, gradually, mysterious clues emerge to suggest that all is not as it seems. Why does Aunt have blonde hair when Aarti is of Indian heritage? Why has Aarti named her fox companion Chand, and why does she feel such an affinity with Krishna, the blue god of her storybook, and with the natural world around her? When Aarti finds a tatty toy rabbit hidden in a locked room buried memories begin to surface. The cliff fall death of Aunt and the arrival of a shipwrecked boy with a strange resemblance to Krishna lead to Aarti’s dramatic return to a lost life.
Jasbinder Bilan has written a haunting story of loneliness and mystery, with themes of identity, heritage, belief, family, friendship and belonging. The atmosphere of the book is one of secrets and grief and Aarti’s happy ending is hard won. Sensitive readers will find the story of her search for answers about who she is a compelling one. Links between Eastern and Western mythologies are skilfully woven into the story and the remote island setting is beautifully described. This evocative, mystical story with a startling twist will appeal to readers who enjoy adventure with a hint of magic and mystery.