When Anila Tandy’s guardians, the Hickeys, decide to leave Calcutta they beg her to accompany them, but she stubbornly refuses to come so that just in case her long gone father returns as he promised many years ago she’ll be there. Miss Hickey then sets her up with everything she’ll need to survive by herself. Most importantly Miss Hickey finds Anila a job as a bird painter on an expedition up the Ganges River. As the days go by and she discovers new birds, she also reflects on her past. How life was like when her mother was still alive and her father still around, or remembering the stories her mother used to tell. Along the journey Anila finds herself and grows up.
Anila’s Journey was a very well written historical fiction. The re-creation of historical India was fascinating and I enjoyed learning more about the older Indian culture. I thought that it was really interesting how Mary Finn alternated the chapters by telling what Anila was experiencing at the present and then stories about Anila’s past and then bringing them together in the end. Anila was an interesting character who really grew up through the story and became her true self. I loved all of the culture references and felt like I learned quite a bit. At times the book got dry and I found that it was hard to keep reading, but then it would get better over time. Overall I liked the book.