What would it be like to lose both of your parents and then to live under the guardianship of a greedy, conniving, and cold-hearted aunt and uncle who threaten to uproot you from the familiarity of place? Barbara Mariconda answers those questions in The Voyage of Lucy P. Simmons, the first installment in a trilogy of middle grade fantasy novels. Set in 1906 New England, Voyage is not only a fantasy, adventure story featuring lore and legends of the sea but also the tale of Lucille Prudence Simmons and her family’s house—her father’s “ship on shore” that turns out to be both menacing and magical.
On the day of the will’s reading, the knelling of Father’s ship’s bell out front notifies Lucy that she has lost the sense of being safe, well-loved, and cared for. Despite her immense sadness and the threat of doom, Lucy resolves to save the legacy her father left to her. She also steels herself to discover the true nature of the family curse and the whereabouts of her Aunt Prudence. Given her determination and spirited energy, Lucy makes a good role model for young girls as she battles multiple adversaries on her quest with two additional strong women as her allies: Addie, the clever and compassionate live-in nanny and housekeeper; and Marni, a masquerading school marm with many talents and secrets, rumored to be a siren. From Marni, protector of lost children, readers learn the definition of courage, the positive power of deception, and multiple tidbits of wisdom including this nugget: “Sometimes it isn’t in the frantic doing or the fixing, but rather in the patience, the quiet, in which our answers are revealed to us” (192).
At its core, the book demonstrates astonishing metamorphoses and illustrates the value of perseverance in following one’s dreams.
- Posted by Donna