When Secrets Set Sail
This moving tale centres around two eleven-year-old girls, Usha and Imtiaz. Usha is a quiet introvert who is struggling to deal with the death of her beloved grandmother. Imtiaz, having grown up in a children’s home after being abandoned as a baby, has mixed feelings about being adopted by Usha’s family.
At first, there is much resentment between the girls: Usha seems distant and unfriendly, while Imtiaz is prickly and fearful of rejection. When Usha claims she can see the ghost of her grandmother, Imtiaz assumes she is trying to scare her away. However, when Imtiaz encounters the silent ghost of a mysterious Indian woman, the girls begin to trust one another. Guided by the two ghosts, they delve into the past to piece together clues and unravel the mystery which is preventing the spirits from moving on from this world.
Packed full of history, this poignant novel about family secrets and broken promises explores some of the injustices faced by generations of migrants to Britain. With themes of intolerance, discrimination, trust and love, it emphasises the importance of understanding people’s heritage and righting the wrongs of previous generations by allowing everyone’s story to be heard.