Cover image for The lost lady of the Amazon : the story of Isabela Godin and her epic journey
The lost lady of the Amazon : the story of Isabela Godin and her epic journey
Smith, Anthony, 1926-2014.
Personal Author:
First Carroll and Graf edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Carroll & Graf Publishers, [2003]

Physical Description:
xi, 197 pages : illustrations, maps ; 23 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F2546 .S62 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Isabela Godin des Odonais arrived in France from Guiana in 1773, and for months her tale of wifely devotion was the talk of every salon in Paris. For good reason, as the vivid retelling of this sensational tale in Anthony Smith's chronicle of an amazing Amazonian odyssey shows. A remarkable story, it takes Jean Godin on a French scientific expedition to Peru in 1735 and six years later marries him to the thirteen-year-old daughter of the Spanish governor. Godin's plan to take his wife, Isabela, and their young family to France originates in nostalgia, but his sense of responsibility as well as adventure prompts him to first test the possibility of crossing the Andes, traveling the length of the Amazon, and sailing to French Guiana. He succeeds, but only after 20 years of petitions to the Portuguese government for passage will Godin's wife undertake the same 3,000-mile journey--and encounter a series of jungle horrors and river tragedies that will reduce her party of 42 to herhalf-mad self, starving and alone. Photographs and a map add to this incredible true story of Isabela's journey down the mighty Amazon--exploring her courage, her survival, and her undying love.

Author Notes

Anthony Smith flew with the RAF, trained as a zoologist, worked in Africa and South America, and is an author with many books to his credit

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Smith has recorded the remarkable true story of a woman's heroic journey across the wilds of eighteenth-century South America. Married to a French scientist, Isabela Godin des Odonais, the daughter of the Spanish governor of Ecuador, waits patiently for safe passage to French Guiana, where her devoted husband awaits her. Unfortunately, tensions between the rival colonial French, Spanish, and Portuguese governments prevent either Isabela or her husband from traveling across the continent to meet one another. Nearly 20 years later, Isabela, her extended family, and her servants are finally allowed to undertake the arduous 3,000-mile trek across the Andes and through the jungle. Facing every possible hazard along the way, the party of 42 is reduced to one survivor: a half-mad Isabela, who is finally reunited with her husband. This stirring, real-life adventure reads like fiction. --Margaret Flanagan

Table of Contents

Mapsp. xiii
A Story's Originsp. 1
1 The French Measurers 1735-43p. 7
2 Iberians Among the Amazons 1542, 1560-1, 1637-9p. 31
3 A Feast of Science 1743-4p. 47
4 The Constant Husband 1749-65p. 61
5 A Galiot for a Lady 1765-6p. 77
6 Joachim's Journey 1766-9p. 91
7 Dona Isabela Embarks 1769p. 103
8 Disaster 1769p. 115
9 The Sole Survivor 1769-70p. 133
10 Stranger Than Fiction 1770p. 151
11 A Joyful Reunion 1770-3p. 163
12 The Chain-Bearer Comes Home 1773-92p. 175
A Personal Epiloguep. 185
Indexp. 191