Monday, January 5, 2009

A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson

Previously Reviewed by Mindy

Summary: After the Russian revolution turns her world topsy-turvy, Anna, a young Russian countess, has no choice but to flee to England. Penniless, Anna hides her aristocratic background and takes a job as servant in the household of the esteemed Westerholme family, armed only with an outdated housekeeping manual and sheer determination. Desperate to keep her past a secret, Anna is nearly overwhelmed by her new duties—not to mention her instant attraction to Rupert, the handsome earl of Westerholme. To make matters worse, Rupert appears to be falling for her as well. As their attraction grows stronger, Anna finds it more and more difficult to keep her most dearly held secrets from unraveling. And then there’s the small matter of Rupert’s beautiful and nasty fiancee. . . .

My Review: I must admit that I was a bit thrown by the prologue to this novel. The story is set in Russia and England at a period around the first World War, therefore many of the terms, and the writing style, were foreign to me. I had to read the prologue twice and still began the first chapter with some hesitation.
However, the first chapter hooked me. I fell in love with these characters. With the sweet countess, the quirky neighbors, the handsome Earl, the grandmotherly head housekeeper and the nasty fiancee, you wind up with the perfect mix of characters. While reading it you get swept into their world and really feel like part of the story.
Though not the most thought-provoking book, "The Countess Under the Stairs" is a magically fairytale. It reminds a little of "Cinderella". It is one of those books that you can't put down, yet don't want to finish. The story is memorable, yet I can't wait to read it again. Truly delightful.

My Rating: 5 Stars, I really enjoyed this book

If I could sum this book up in one sentence it would be: A big, huge curtsy to Eva Ibbotson for bring us such a delightful book.


MindySue said...

odd, a couple of times now i have posted a comment and it hasn't shown up. i'll try again.

i'm glad you liked the book. it was definitely a fun read.

i LOVE how you linked your review to mine. how did you do it? we could also do it if we are reviewing books in a series...or if there are other books by the same author. let me know what you did in the chat box.

MindySue said...

nevermind. i got it. and reverse linked mine to yours as well.

Melissa Paul said...

Thanks for the loan, Mindy! This was a charming "grown up" fairy tale. And I especially loved that there were no fairy godmothers or such, good things happened to Anna because she was a good and kind person. It was a sweet story!

Sally T. said...

Eva Ibbotson is one of my favorites. She wrote a few romances like this that I just found to be charming. Thanks for sharing!


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