It’s 1942 and Nisha has travelled a long way. Her first journey takes her from a privileged and happy childhood in Malaya to the stark, grey, frightening home of her grandmother on England’s Barrow Island. Her other journey is from a child refugee suffering from PTSD, barely able to speak, to a blossoming young girl who has found courage, hope, and honesty. Both journeys are cleverly and intricately woven together.
We find out more about Nisha’s back story through a ‘truth’ journal that she is encouraged to write to help her work through her past. The tension builds steadily as we are led towards the revelation of the horrific events that happened on her way from Asia to Europe. Nisha is a beautifully realised character and will undoubtedly evoke empathy from the reader.
On first arriving in Scotland, Nisha and her mother are met with xenophobia and hostility by some locals, but they also find sympathy, friendship, and love. All the main characters are well drawn, and they develop and grow along with Nisha. Barrow Island is almost another character in the story and its cold gloominess is vividly created. There is a supernatural element at the heart of the story that creates wonderful suspense and keeps Nisha and the reader guessing right to the end.