Vijetha Rangabhashyam
JOURNEY TO THE RIVER SEA by Eva Ibbotson Macmillan, New Delhi, 2014, 230 pp., 299
November 2014, volume 38, No 11

The story is set in 1910, where young and orphaned Maia has to voyage all the way to the Amazon from England, to go live with her only family, the Carters. The gruesome depictions of Amazon, of man eating alligators, blood thirsty piranhas and yellow fever inducing mosquitoes by her boarding school peers doesn’t deter Maia from fantasizing about the beautiful journey she is to experience along with her governess, Miss Minton. She dreams about kaleidoscopic macaws, verdure jungles bursting with life, ‘curtains of sweetly scented orchids trailing from the trees’, but most of all, her only surviving family and their twins, and how they would enjoy their time together exploring forests and swimming in rivers.

In the ship, Maia befriends Clovis, a young, nervous lad who is part of a theater company that is also travelling to Manaus to put on a show. Amicable and gentle as she always is, she assures Clovis that all will be well. But little does she know how arduous her life is going to be with her so-called family.

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