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The Voyage of Lucy P. Simmons Hardcover – October 2, 2012

46 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Lucy P. Simmons Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Set in New England, in 1906, this historical novel pits a young heroine against an odious villain and his allies. Lucy is orphaned in chapter 1 when a sailboat picnic ends tragically with a rescue attempt in which both her parents drown. She is placed under the guardianship of Uncle Victor, whose chief concern is plundering or inheriting her parents’ estate. Clever Lucy shows plenty of pluck in finding allies and engineering a means of escape from her uncle’s tyrannical and potentially murderous clutches. The novel is a melodrama in that characters act out clearly defined roles with flair (Uncle Victor’s wife flaunts her greed, power, and cruelty by wearing Lucy’s mother’s jewelry) rather than nuance. While supernatural elements are woven into the story, a huge magical event near the end comes as a surprise. The story quickly pivots, takes a new direction, and stops without a satisfying conclusion. Hinting at a sequel, it leaves some unanswered questions and, quite possibly, some unsatisfied readers. Grades 4-6. --Carolyn Phelan


“Lucy is an intrepid heroine with a swashbuckling spirit and a sailor’s heart. A grand and adventurous tale, as magical and mysterious as the sea itself.” (Katherine Applegate, Newbery award-winning author of The One and Only Ivan)

“A thrilling, magical story with a feisty, unforgettable heroine. I couldn’t put this book down.” (Patricia Reilly Giff, author of Newbery Honor book Lily's Crossing and the Polk Street School series)

“Storms and high seas, a mysterious house and a more mysterious ship, a magical sparkling cloud that brings new hope—they are all here. This novel is a hymn to courage, with a tempo that turns the pages, a rhythm that stirs the spirit.” (Gary D. Schmidt, National Book Award finalist and author of the Newbery Honor book Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy)

“In this riveting story, landlubbers and seafarers alike will find a song of loss, courage, loyalty and magic—altogether wonderful!” (Kathi Appelt, author of the Newbery Honor Book and National Book Award finalist The Underneath)

“Highly dramatic and visually stunning.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“The world of ships and sailing comes to life with Mariconda’s rich details.” (Sacramento Book Review)

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 950L (What's this?)
  • Series: Voyage of Lucy P. Simmons (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books; 1 edition (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062119796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062119797
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,570,915 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Barbara Mariconda is the author of books for readers of all ages, including The Voyage of Lucy P. Simmons which Kirkus Reviews praised for its "dramatic and visually stunning" prose.

In writing Bird with the Heart of a Mountain it was a haunting Gypsy melody that first captured the author's imagination, that drew her to Jerez, Spain, and into Drina's world.

She serves on the Board of Directors of Flamenco Vivo in NYC, which promotes the art of flamenco to new audiences ( and she strives to empower the next generation of young authors through her company, Empowering Writers.

You can visit her online at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Beverly L. Archer VINE VOICE on November 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is an ok middle grade read, not one that I will rush to recommend to my students. My first reaction was "oh here's yet another story about an orphaned girl mistreated by her guardians." Then the author woven in a little magic, a hint of a curse, a mysterious woman who might be a sea witch and a mysterious missing aunt. These are all elements for a good story, but somehow they never quite merged together to create that good story. It's as though the author was in a hurry to get the story told and didn't quite take the time to develop it properly.

I was also bothered by the fact that despite the title, Lucy doesn't embark on a voyage until the end of the book. The ending left so many unanswered questions, that I'm guessing there must be a sequel planned. However, I'm not sure I'll spend my treasured reading time, reading it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dienne TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I understand that authors usually leave a few tantalizing threads untied in a first novel with the intention of tying up those threads in subsequent sequels. However, that does not begin to explain this book. Even in a planned series, each story needs to have the usual beginning, middle and end. This book is one for three. Barely. It's hard to even call this book a decent Act I. More like an overture.

In this opening to what is clearly a multi-book series, we meet plucky twelve-year-old Lucy P. Simmons (the "P" seems especially important, although we never find out what it stands for) and (briefly) her sea captain of a father and his wife (Lucy's mother). However, Lucy's parents are conveniently thrown overboard (both literally and figuratively) trying to rescue a drowning "Brute" during a sudden freak storm within the first chapter so that Ms. Mariconda can tell the story she really wants to tell: the story of a sweet and innocent, yet determined, orphan who boldly faces - and overcomes - the unmitigated evil into which she is thrust.

Following her parents' death, Uncle Victor and Aunt Margaret waste no time in showing up, not bothering to mask their salivating hunger for the family's assets. Barrister Hardy, however, reads in Father's will that Aunt Prudence is to assume custody of Lucy and fiduciary duty over the house and assets in trust for Lucy. Unfortunately, Aunt Prudence is busy wandering about the globe (apparently having something to do with a "family curse") and can't be reached. That being the case, Lucy's supposedly loving father next left her and the house in the care of Uncle Victor, until such time as Aunt Prudence can be found, with surprisingly few stipulations as to how either could be disposed of.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Z Hayes HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on January 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As I read the first few chapters of this book (the first in a series), I felt the story was all too familiar - a young girl named Lucy P. Simmons finds herself orphaned when her parents unaccountably die in a drowning incident. Lucy finds herself being unceremoniously left in the "care" of a pair of unscrupulous people, her Uncle Victor and Aunt Margaret since her actual designated guardian, Aunt Prudence is gallivanting about somewhere in the world, apparently on matters pertaining to a family curse.
Lucy's life changes for the worse but there's some relief. The house itself appears to harbor some magical properties and Lucy has an ally in the form of devoted servant Addie. Lucy is desperate to find Aunt Prudence, but then she herself is whisked away by a mysterious woman.

There are elements of mythology in this fast-paced read that is touched on but not explored in depth. This book being the first in a series basically sets up the premise for what is to follow, so that Lucy P. Simmons does not exactly begin her actual voyage until the very end of the book.

Frankly, there are too many contrived elements in this story to appeal to me and I did not think the characterizations were very well done. Many of the characters are portrayed as absolutely good or bad which might appeal to some readers but I prefer more complex, well-rounded characters. Perhaps there will be more depth to Lucy's character in the subsequent installments. I do think this makes a fast-paced, engaging read for middle grade readers and perhaps even younger readers who are able to understand the content.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Book Sake VINE VOICE on October 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a cute middle grade read with a bit of magic dispersed throughout. Lucy's character is smart and cunning and she is always attempting to do the right thing - just the same as her parents would have done. In her trials the house seems to help her out - well, the house, or the magic, we aren't quite sure where it's coming from - but it's suddenly there.

When Marni shows up and enters into Lucy's life things get even stranger for her. First of all she doesn't know who Marni really is, but Marni is convincing as a headmistress and is able to place herself in between Lucy and her aunt and uncle. Though, with an aunt and uncle reminiscent of Petunia and Vernon Dursley from Harry Potter - it doesn't take much to pull one over on them. They are the characters to hate in this story, along with the Brute - known for treating his children and dog very badly.

The story ends with an opening to an adventure on the sea, leaving us without information on where the magic came from and who this Marni person is. I do wish there were more information given away, it feels as if everything is being held back for the next book in the series.

ARC reviewed by Jessica for Book Sake.
Book Received: For free from publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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