By Mary Finn
(Candlewick Press (MA), Hardcover, 9780763639167, 309pp.)
Publication Date: October 2008
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Set in colonial India, this richly layered coming-of-age tale follows a spirited young artist on a journey up the Ganges — and through the enigmas of her past.
How can Anila Tandy, left to fend for herself after her mother's death, dare to apply for a job that is clearly not meant for a woman? But somehow the "Bird Girl of Calcutta," art supplies in hand, finds herself on an eye-opening journey up the Ganges, apprenticed to a gentleman scientist. As the lush landscape slips by, Anila dives into her past — a past where her beautiful Bengali mother still tells stories and her Irish father's mysterious disappearance lingers. Gorgeously written and rich with atmosphere, Mary Finn's debut novel tells the story of a determined young artist who must make her way in the dangerous world of late-eighteenth-century India.