The Lost Lady of the Amazon: The Story of Isabela Godin and Her Epic Journeyby Anthony Smith
The incredible story of an eighteenth century noblewoman's journey down the mighty Amazon River -- her courage, her survival, her undying love. The French scientific expedition that set off for Peru in 1735 did not have much luck. Five of its members died or went insane before their seven years' work was completed, but Jean Godin, the youngest member of the team, fell in love and married a local girl -- Isabela, the daughter of the local Spanish governor. They settled down and started a family in Riobamba. After a few years, feeling homesick for France, Godin crossed the Andes and travelled the length of the Amazon to test whether it was a route suitable for his young family. Unfortunately, having safely reached Cayenne in French Guiana, he discovered that the political situation prevented his return: neither the Spanish nor the Portuguese would allow his passage back up river.
The story is incredible. After almost twenty years, during which Jean still waited on in Guiana, the King of Portugal relented and allowed a boat passage to retrieve the forlorn Peruvian family. Isabela at last set off with her children, her brothers, and her Indian servants, over the Andes and down the Amazon. But the journey was to prove worse than the long years of waiting. Smallpox, starvation, the torrential nature of the river and the horrors of the jungle beset the travellers. Some of the party drowned, some ran away, others died of hunger. In the end, Isabela alone survived of the forty-two who set off -- she was found wandering in the jungle sick and half-crazed, and was finally taken safely on the rest of the journey and reunited with her husband. In the chaotic days before the French Revolution, Isabela's tale of love, courage, and devotion to her long-lost husband caused a sensation and was the talk of every salon in Paris. Anthony Smith's vivid account of it will be read with as much wonder and admiration today.
- Da Capo Press
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.50(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.94(d)
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