It’s 1830 and we meet Sahira, a brave and feisty heroine, newly orphaned on a voyage
back to England from India. Suitable for ages 9+, it’s an historical and adventure novel
rolled into one. Did you know that for 600 years, wild animals were kept at the Tower of
London? The story weaves in famous figures of the times including meeting Charles
Darwin at the zoo and Sir Robert Peel and also themes that are relevant today such as
With an Indian mother Begum Chandra un-Noor and English father, Captain Richard
Clive, Sahira is often used to feeling out of place and her life in England is certainly very
different from her life in India. The friends she makes help her navigate this new world
and the tigers in the tower – Sita and Rama – are the focus of the story.
This book feels like a modern successor to A Little Princess and The Secret Garden by
Frances Hodgson Burnett. It should be popular with fans of Emma Caroll and Lucy
Worsley’s children’s books. It’s a great read, the story focuses on friendship and how
this can overcome even the bleakest situations.
Sahira is a character determined to fight for her tigers and her birthright. Victorian
England is a well-written backdrop to the story and there are interesting details which
bring the action to life. It’s a great adventure story and Sahira definitely a forerunner of the suffragettes.