First up, A Journey to the River Sea, by Eva Ibbotson

riva sea

(All though this image was downloaded off the infamous Interweb, it is coincidentially the same cover I have. Isn’t it totally gorgeous??) ;P

Before we plunge to the River (heh. heh. See what I did there?) and tell you what the beep this story is about, let me tell you, that it’s one of the most enchanting tomes in the world and I have read (and re-read) it a thousand times, at the very least. It’s been my go-to book to take on camping trips, awkward sleepovers, hotel rooms, and other places which have potential to turn boring. My copy is battered despite (I assure you!) VERY careful handling. Your’s will be too.

The story revolves around and English girl, named Maia, a child actor named Clovis, and Finn, a boy who lives in the jungle. As it happens in so many other stories, Maia’s parents die. In this case it does not happen all of a sudden in the very start, but as a well-established fact, from the beginning. Her legal guardian finds a distant relation of hers living in the Amazon rainforest (only this was written a while ago, and the word rainforest is mentioned nowhere in the book) and she is sent to live with them.

In a way, it’s a tad like Cinderella’s immortal tale, which may be why it has all the elements which make a captivating story. Maia is the ill-treated Cinderella.  The “evil stepmother” (in this case, Mrs. Carter) has two daughters. Unlike Cinderella’s ugly step-sisters, these girls are pretty, though pudgy. At first, Maia is afraid of the Amazon she reads about, full of cannibals and large beasties that can consume you in one gulp. She is tired of the Carter family’s stodgy, un-adventurous ways. However, an un-kept promise to a boy actor she met on a boat (guess who?) and a canoe ride from a mysterious stranger lead her to find the Amazon of her dreams.

And yes, there is a ball! Not exactly a ball perhaps, but a  grand party, with sparkling lights, soft music, the works. Enter the glass slipper, in the unassuming form of a key. Just like ol’ Cinders, Maia gets a happy ending (of sorts) but not in the way Cinderella does.

If you’ve read this book, or even blogged about it, I’d love to know your thoughts! Leave a message in the comments below.

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