October 2, 2013
by Cathy Ostlere
On October 31, 1984, Indira Gandhi is assassinated by two Sikh bodyguards. The murder sparks riots in New Delhi, with Sikh men being targeted and killed in retribution. It is into this chaos that fifteen-year-old Maya and her Sikh father, Amar, find themselves after arriving from Canada. They have come to India to dispose of her mother's ashes. Maya's mother was Hindu, and was unable to overcome the differences of belief between her and her husband.
Maya is torn between four cultures - Hindu and Sikh, Indian and Canadian. She doesn't know where she fits in, and the riots only add to her turmoil. Separated from her father and traumatized by the horrors she witnesses, Maya loses her voice, further endangering her life. Her only hope is a boy named Sandeep.
Ostlere has written a sweeping historical romance, beautifully written in free verse. Imbued with great compassion, it is a novel of forgiveness and self-sacrifice. A novel to be treasured.