Ruby has to leave Australia in a hurry with her Dad and Grandma, leaving her life and her mum behind. With very few possessions to remind her of home, the family set sail to a new life in India, where her father grew up.
The hotel isn’t what she thought it would be: it’s boarded up with no electricity or running water, leaving her wondering just what her Dad was thinking! How is this abandoned building in a strange new country ever going to feel like home? To make matters worse, the locals won’t go there as they believe it to be haunted. When Ruby uncovers poachers are active on the mountain, she vows to do whatever it takes to save the leopards that live there.
A thrilling, heartfelt adventure, full of family, friendship and finding your place in the world. Dealing with loss, grief, poaching and conservation, with every turn of the page Jess Butterworth carries you further into the foothills of the Himalayas, enveloping you in the warmth of her rich, evocative writing. The mountain the story unfolds upon is as much as character as Ruby, her family and the bosses.
Ruby grows in confidence throughout the story as we watch her metamorphosis from frightened child to fearless defender, as she adapts to her new surroundings and culture, finds friends where she thought there would be none, and begins the road to accepting the loss of her mother. And shining through it all is her absolute love and compassion for animals, and it’s this that helps cement her friendship with Praveen, a local goatherd.
I loved that aspects of Hinduism were explored, including Holi, death ceremonies at the Ganges and shrines, and the Bollywood scene brought a huge smile to my face. I know a lot of children who will see their own family beliefs reflected from the pages of this stunning story.
Great for fans of Gill Lewis, Katherine Rundell and Julia Green.