Strong as Fire, Fierce as Flame
On the eve of Meera's thirteenth birthday, when she is to move into the home of her husband's family, frustrated sepoys mutiny against their British commanders, and in the subsequent rioting, Meera's husband is killed. It's 1857 India, and her father is trying to force Meera to commit sati—to willingly throw herself on her husband's funeral pyre. Instead, Meera flees and meets another fiery girl and follows her, only to be subjected to serving a captain of the British EastIndia Company. When Meera chances upon stockpiled ammunition symbolizing prolonged British rule, she must decide if she will protect her country or have her fate continue to be decided for her. Child marriages, sexist ideologies, and the terrors of colonialism are just a handful of subjects Kelkar (American As Paneer Pie, 2020), scrutinizes through the lens of a teenager in the thick of it. Meera's transformation from a complacent girl to embracing her spirited convictions is nothing short of inspiring. Back matter, including an author's note, historical note, time line, and glossary are an integral enrichment to this novel.