The day Parvati of Nandipuram was born, a devastating cyclone killed many people in her village, including her father, and left many others hungry and homeless. But Parvati a plump and healthy child from birth, despite the horrid conditions. So the people of Nandipuram start to believe she is a young witch, and blame her for causing the storm.

Shiva's Fire by Suzanne Fisher StaplesAs she grows up, she is snubbed and bullied, and the villagers always find new reasons to do so. Wild monkeys let her hold their babies; they see her charm what they think is an evil snake; and one night she jumps into a fire and dances as if enchanted.

Every night, the village buzzes with “News about Parvati”.

But one thing the villagers don’t know is that she sees a statue of Shiva- the Indian God of Dance- do come alive and dance in a ring of fire, though it is only sandalwood. These visions inspire her to dance and dance.

A great dance guru, or teacher, from a distant city hears about this girl and thinks she might be destined to be a devadasi, a dancer at temples. He invites her to train with him. She could dance to heart’s content, something she is shunned for, but she would have to leave her family, and grow up without them. Parvati is torn.

What can she do?

Finally she decides that it is her destiny to dance. The day she leaves for the guru’s house is a happy one, but sad. Soon Parvati becomes a talented dancer, and is asked to dance for the Raja’s – or the king’s – birthday ceremony!

When she is there, she befriends the Yuvraja , the prince. Then, she learns a very surprising secret about the prince, and herself.