Journey to the River Sea

When I came upon the audiobook of Eva Ibbotson’s Journey to the River Sea, as I was unpacking the children’s books a few weeks ago, I looked around, wondering where the ‘real’ book was. And then it hit me; I didn’t actually own a copy. I had borrowed it from the library to read (you can tell this was a long time ago, can’t you?), and returned it when I was done.

But I did buy the audiobook, because I thought it was such a marvellous story that Daughter might want to read it. This was when she was still a reluctant reader, while fully enjoying audio books. And Son was in full audiobook mode as well, although he did read too. We had a few years during which we as a family consumed an awful lot of cassette books, including the odd chewed-up tape. I remember this, as Eva Ibbotson’s book was one that got entangled, much to my horror. (Luckily the people who made it were happy to supply a spare cassette, meaning I didn’t have to buy it all over again.)

I remember buying a copy of the book to give away, too, so it’s not as if I was being particularly economical about it.

So there I was, filling my shelves with books, and no Journey to the River Sea. I looked at the cassettes, and I looked at the empty gap among my Eva Ibbotson books, and knew I needed to own this one.

Eva Ibbotson, Journey to the River Sea

What’s more, I felt it needed to be the original cover; the cover of the book I had read, and none of the newer looks. But now that you can buy used books online, it is at least possible to choose your edition, and for a reasonable price.

The gap has been filled.

(As a matter of interest, has anyone who knows this book come across an ‘adult version’ of it? Some time after I’d first read it, I discovered an adult novel by Eva that sounded similar, so I read that too, and realised she must have written it first, since it had practically the same plot, only a little more grown-up. I’m glad she re-wrote it, as the children’s story is far superior.)

5 responses to “Journey to the River Sea

  1. V. Kathryn Evans

    I know this feeling! I was looking for my copy of Watership Down and found some interloping copy – where is mine? Why have I got my brother-in-laws book and not my own( which was, in fact, my dad’s). I am physically pining for this book.

  2. You’ll need to line up the entire family – and more, if necessary – and get to the truth. Or would a replacement of the right edition do?

  3. My daughter and I read Journey to the River Sea together and we both absolutely loved it – had a different cover to yours though. The adult version sounds interesting – do you know what it was called?

  4. It might have been A Company of Swans, which is a ‘traditional romance’ with a lot in common with JttRS.

  5. Yup, the related book is A Company of Swans. I really enjoyed the ballet parts and the evil family (‘like’ is the wrong word for the father!), but the hero struck me as being someone who would be much less heroic in real life. Of Eva’s adult novels, I love Madensky Square (def. for adults), but retain a soft spot for The Secret Countess (also works for teens). Let’s just say the fate of the bookworm Jewish neighbour secretly remains my favourite literary fantasy, even if I should know better by now…

    On topic – I never had the patience for audio books as a child. As an adult I can just about tolerate them, although Anna Karenina serialised in German on the radio here was a bit much. I wanted to send her to the station at least a week early!

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