Archive for Eva Ibbotson

The Secret Countess – Eva Ibbotson

Posted in Books, Romance, Young adult with tags on July 14, 2007 by Cara Marie

The Secret Countess is a reprint – it was published previously for adults as A Countess Below Stairs. I think it works for any age though; it’s just lovely. I’d never read Eva Ibbotson before, apart from the more junior Which Week?, and I really enjoyed this.

It was quite slow to get into, and written quite formally, but being as it was set at the beginning of the 20th century, it was appropriate. The story itself is quite old-fashioned, and also a genuinely heartwarming romance. I cried.

It was also well constructed: things would be mentioned that helped save the day later, without feeling unnatural. It was nice to have such a happy ending.

The only bung note, for me, was probably the attempts at humour, such as a family of girls who are completely unlikable and fail in any attempt to find husbands. Their purpose seems mostly to be comic relief, but that didn’t work in the story. The good characters in The Secret Countess are very good, the bad characters completely bad and I think I would have liked more nuance there. And it wasn’t that they were written without sympathy – just you couldn’t hold any for them. The plot was complicated, the characters weren’t.

For most of it though, I was utterly charmed, and look forward to it actually coming out here so I can recommend it. I’ve often recced Eva Ibbotson based on what others have said, and it’s nice to be able to do so from myself.