Sherwood Smith. Journey to Otherwhere (Voyage of the Basset). Random House, 2000. ISBN 9780375800511 224 pp. $
This fantasy tale with an old-fashioned flavor is set in England at the turn of the century or start of the Industrial Revolution.
Meddler and inventor-wanna-be Bradford Ellis takes Lucy Beale under his wing, determined to benefit the poor seamstress at his father’s school with a classical education during the summer holiday. As part of their education, the two are invited to tour a ship, which takes them on a journey to the Lands of Legend where imagination, not progress and intellect, rule.
The text is unexciting and the premise weak. Because there is little history or explanation behind the magic, the story has no backbone. Lucy is the only fleshed out character with a history, hopes and dreams, and a skill at sewing that materializes into a real occupation. Brad is immature and frustrating, and it is predictable that he finally “gets it” and realizes that Progress is not the key to everything.