Description - Anila's Journey by Mary Finn
An advert in the "Calcutta Gazette" is looking for an apprentice draughtsman to accompany a scholar on an expedition to record avian life in Bengal. How can Anila Tandy, left to fend for herself in a city of rogues, dare to apply for a position that is clearly not meant for her? But the talented "Bird Girl of Calcutta" has never shrunk from a challenge. And perhaps this voyage up the Ganges might be just the thing to equip Anila in her search for her father, missing for years and presumed dead.
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(198mm x 129mm x 23mm)
Walker Books Ltd
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
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US Kirkus Review »
A half-Indian, half-Irish girl finds her past on a trip down the Ganges. Anila is the daughter of an Irish businessman and his Bengali mistress in 19th-century India. Anila, a gifted painter, has been ward to (real-life) painter Thomas Hickey and friend to Hickey's daughter. But when the Hickeys move to Madras, Anila stays in Calcutta. Only in Calcutta, she believes, will she find her long-lost father, who years ago left for Ireland promising to send for Anila and her mother. She has been with the Hickeys since her mother's death, killed by shame after becoming another white man's mistress. Now Anila seeks work. Painting birds for a British naturalist on a Ganges journey, she learns about her homeland, her family and herself. It's unfortunate that Anila's protectors and mentors are all white; otherwise the novel thoughtfully explores race relations in the Company Raj through the eyes of a mixed-blood teenager. Nonetheless, Anila's story is a heartwarming, rich, believable coming-of-age. (Historical fiction. 13-15) (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Mary Finn
Mary Finn worked for years as a magazine journalist with Radio Telefis Eireann, the Irish broadcasting service. She lives in Dublin with her son and works as a freelance writer. Anila's Journey is her debut novel and was inspired by an original 18th century portrait which hangs in the National Gallery of Ireland (and now graces the front cover), as well as a lifelong fascination with India.