Monday, May 14, 2012

Book Review: Journey to the River Sea, by Eva Ibbotson

Photo by Mark Dumont.

It's 1910 and young Maia Fielding lives at a boarding school in London until her guardian announces that some relatives of hers have been found. She and her new governess, Miss Minton, travel all the way to the Amazon to live with her unpleasant new family, the Carters, who appear to detest everything about Brazil. Maia, on the other hand, is utterly enchanted by her new home and is keen to make new friends and explore. Soon she finds herself caught up in the mystery of Bernard Taverner's missing son...

This is the first book by Eva Ibbotson that I have read. I picked it up on a whim, loved it completely, and now I want to read them all. Seriously. I am considering tracking down a copy of every one of her books, building a fort, and hiding out there to read and read and read until I have devoured Eva Ibbotson's entire ouvre.I want to hand out copies of Journey to the River Sea to every child I meet! And probably a few adults too. I loved it that much. And so quickly! I even included a quote from the first chapter in my Top Ten Favourite Book Quotes post.

The narrative voice is funny and charming and snarky. The characters were colourful and varied. I loved Maia's innocence and ingenuity, Miss Minton's sneakiness and dignity, Clovis' nervousness and the greediness of the twins. The main plot and all the subplots were just fabulous.

I'm no historical expert but I spotted a couple of anachronistic details in the story. Nothing really jarring, just a couple of things I noticed, and I know some people are fussy about accuracy, so I wanted to include a warning!

Being a children's novel Journey to the River Sea was quite a quick read, but it was just what I needed to make the time I spent commuting speed by! I would recommend it to EVERYBODY.

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