5 out of 5 stars
This is one of my favorite Ibbotson books. She has one main character, several supplementary characters, and all tie together in the end. Some characters are likable and some not, but all are interesting. Similar to Sara Crewe story.
Maia, who lives at an English boarding school after the death of her parents, is sent to live with relatives on a rubber plantation in Brazil. She travels with her governess who seems to be a stickler for rules. She imagines her cousins, the twins, to be sweet and good-natured. She expects beautiful flowers and exotic wildlife.
What Maia gets is a governess willing to help her, an aunt and uncle who would rather be back in England, and cousins who are catty and malicious.
Her life takes an upturn when she encounters a native boy, the actor from the boat comes to town, and the natives lend a hand.
Maia finds herself in the middle of an adventure that she hadn’t expected.
You find yourself rooting for the good characters, and gleeful when those evil ones get their just rewards.