Sophie, In Shadow

Written by Eileen Kernaghan
Review by Arleigh Johnson

After her parents die in the sinking of the Titanic, Sophie Pritchard begins having terrifyingly realistic nightmares and premonitions, escalated by the coming war. She leaves England and heads to British India to stay with relatives, a married couple with a young daughter. The visions continue as Sophie settles into her new life in the comfortable home of her cousins. Tom, a zoologist at the Indian Museum, and Jeannie, successful a novelist, prove to be optimistic and well-educated guardians who encourage their charge in her interests. Eager to learn the new culture around her, Sophie explores Calcutta from the Temple of Kali to the Victoria Monument with her adventurous young cousin, Alex.

However pleasing this new start on life, Sophie’s visions continue, becoming more and more alarming. With WWI raging in Europe, the British citizens are not untouched even in this faraway land. Planned uprisings, bombings and murders in the street are not uncommon, and spying and conspiracies abound. When the family gets caught up in an intrigue, Sophie must rely on her newly cultivated gift of foresight to save her loved ones from danger.

Sophie, In Shadow follows characters from the author’s previous book, Wild Talent, though reads beautifully as a stand-alone. Historically, this is a descriptive and engrossing read on all aspects of life in early 20th-century British India. It has a twist of mystery and a hint of the supernatural, but it is also a clever study of the customs and culture of Buddhism, as explored by one of the characters who helped Sophie understand her visions. Alexandra David-Neel, a Belgian-French explorer, can be found in history books as a spiritualist, writer and Eastern Religion enthusiast. This story includes delightfully light-hearted humor and offers an engaging adventure perfect for young adult readers!