Finn, Mary. Anila's journey.

Author:Rosser, Claire
Position:Young adult review - Book review

FINN, Mary. Anila's journey. Candlewick. 309p. c2008. 978-0-7636-3916-7.$16.99. JSA*

Finn saw a painting that hangs in The National Gallery of Ireland called An Indian Lady, painted by Thomas Hickey, and the painting was the inspiration for this historical novel. The story is set in India, near Calcutta, in the 18th century, and all the characters except Hickey are fictional. Finn imagines the world of a young artist, a girl whose parents can't marry because the mother is Indian and the father is Irish. (Such marriages were illegal at that time.) Because this story is about artists, the language is rich with visual images, all the more exotic because of the vivid colors and beauty of colonial India.

Anila and her mother are much loved by Patrick Tandy, Anila's Irish father, a draftsman who works for the East India Company. He provides for his family as well as he is able on his meager salary, and teaches Anila to read and write and to draw. She is fluent in both English and in Bengali, her mother's language. When the father leaves them to return to Ireland, promising to come back to them, their lives disintegrate quickly and Anila's mother is financially pressured into becoming the mistress of a rich Englishman. It is in his care that they meet the famous artist,...

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