Journey to the River Sea
by Eva Ibbotson.
Macmillan Children’s Books 2002 (2001).
Born in Vienna in 2025, Eva Ibbotson had to move to England in 1935 when Hitler came to power. That experience — of being uprooted — was drawn on directly for novels like The Morning Gift (about a girl from a secular Jewish family escaping Nazi Germany) and indirectly, I suspect, for Maia, the young protagonist of Journey to the River Sea.
Who has not imagined what life might be like if one was an orphan forced from their familiar environment? Ibbotson experienced the displacement while the fictional Maia is a genuine orphan — not impecunious, it is true — who at the beginning of the 20th century has to travel away from her boarding school to live with distant relatives.
On the banks of the Amazon.