‘I’m India. You work at the museum, right? Sit.’
She watched as Hannah hesitated briefly and then obediently followed her instructions. ‘I’m Hannah,’ she mumbled.
‘Well, Hannah, have some watermelon. I’ve got too much. I’ll make myself sick if I eat all of this on my own.’
When Hannah didn’t move to pick up a piece of watermelon, India sighed at her in an exasperated sort of way and prodded her in the side. ‘Eat, please. I can tell you’re hungry…’
When Hannah meets India she isn’t looking for a friend. She doesn’t think she deserves one. Far from her Sydney home, she is working in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, trying to forget what she has left behind, but punishing herself for it just the same. India is everything Hannah isn’t – confident, outgoing, helpful. She sees that Hannah needs help, and is determined to give it. She is determined to uncover Hannah’s secret and, while Hannah doesn’t want to tell, she does need a friend.
What Hannah doesn’t see at first is that India has a secret too. Maybe she’s busy fixing things for other people ot avoid fixing that secret. Her secret is busy travelling Europe in the form of letters passed hand to hand by other travellers. Could it be that Hannah can help India as much as India helps her?
Paper Chains is a moving tale of friendship between two young women from opposite sides of Australia who meet far from home. Initially it seems to be a tale of two backpackers off ‘doing’ the almost obligatory European trip of young singles, but readers should be warned that there is much more to the stories of each of these women, which are heart wrenching.
Ultimately heart warming, Paper Chains is beautifully told.
Paper Chains, by Nicola Moriarty
Available from good bookstores and online.