At times sad and poignant but always enthralling and exhilarating, this is a story that captures the wonders of India as seen through the eyes and imagination of a young English girl.

It is 1954 and Melanie is six years old. With her parents, she moves to Bombay, (now Mumbai) India, where her father has been posted to undertake a Civil Engineering project. Lonely, anxious and unsettled, she finds it difficult to find her place in a country so different from England.

But before long, entranced by the emotive beauty of her surroundings, she unexpectedly wins the trust and affection of a young elephant – and her loneliness is banished.


Pounding with the vibrancy of African colour and music, occasionally sad but always engaging, this is a story that captures the heart.

It is 1956 in Sierra Leone. Eight year old Melanie is spending several months with her parents while her father completes a civil engineering project.

Swiftly enthralled by the primeval power of this beautiful African country, she soon discovers that, beneath its happy and apparently carefree exterior, there lurks danger and fear.

With the innocent eyes and naive understanding of a young English girl, Melanie learns of the bond of friendship that exist between people of different races.


Teeming with the joy and abundance of life, the great Irrawaddy river is the life-blood of Myanmar, the country once known as Burma.

From its myriad of sources high up in the jungle clad slopes of the mountainous hills bordering China, the ‘River of Blessings’ winds a thousand miles south to its fertile delta that opens into the Bay of Bengal.

To a little boy conceived in the Kachin Hills and living by the great river for his first five years, the country’s fascinating wildness, creatures, culture and essence burns deep into his character, shaping the whole of his life.


‘This little book was an unexpected joy. It is based on the authors experiences as a small child in India in the 1950’s and is an enchanting read as the reader is transported to India and enveloped in the sights, sounds and the people who live there. The story is such an emotive one; describing the life of one little girl and the comfort she found in the elephants who played such a big part in her time there.’

‘This book is like a box of delicious chocolates; you can keep on your bed side table and read a little bit every night. It is beautiful, a little treasure!’

This beautifully understated story touched and stayed with me for a long time after reading. It evokes with fine detail and great insight, significant episodes in the life of the six-year-old Melanie, set predominantly against the colourful backdrop of the then Bombay.  I recommend this charming story as an enriching read.’


‘A delightfully written story of a time, long ago, when Britain was still a Colonial power. Melanie, the eight year old daughter of a WWll veteran who is carrying out engineering projects in Sierra Leone is on holiday there. It is especially poignant because the story is written from Melanie’s innocent, unworldly but nevertheless, sharply perceptive perspective.

So many parts of this richly observed story resonate with me that it is difficult to narrow them down into a short review! However, I particularly loved the vivid, scenic descriptions of this beautiful country, and conversely, the sad but powerful descriptions of the endemic poverty.’

 ‘If I had to choose just one aspect of this wonderful story it would be the drumming … this for me sums up the power and drama of Africa very powerfully indeed. I cannot recommend this book more highly – a fascinating read.’

‘A heartwarming tale of the bonds and differences between two cultures.  A delightful book, funny and poignant. ‘


‘I simply revelled in this tale of cultural and personal collision courses and how to attempt to negotiate both while studiously avoiding being ostracised – a difficult balancing act but one that has been superbly achieved here. ‘

‘What a wonderful story. So well written. The descriptions so realistic I almost felt you were my tour guide and I was there to see all the beauty described of the country.’

 ‘This is lyrical in its beauty.’

 ‘Very well done. Active, exciting and clearly written, described.’

 ‘Your writing is like poetry: so descriptive!’ 

‘Oh, you really do give my lacrimal glands plenty of exercise! I’m not sure I have ever before read so perfect and powerful a description of such intense emotion. You are a miraculous writer.’

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The Elephants’ Child?

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The Lion Mountains?

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The Snaking River?

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