A classic post-war romance novel, from the award-winning and best-loved Eva Ibbotson.
Eva Ibbotson was born in Vienna in 1925 and moved to England with her father when the Nazis came to power. She wrote more than twenty books for children and young adults, many of which garnered nominations for major awards for children's literature in the UK, including the Nestle Smarties Book Prize and the Whitbread Prize. Imaginative and humorous, Eva's books often convey her love of nature, in particular the Austrian countryside, which is evident in works such as The Star of Kazan and A Song for Summer. Eva passed away at her home in Newcastle on 20 October 2010. Her final book, One Boy and His Dog, was published in May 2011.
A comfortingly old fashioned tale of hidden identity and love. *
This year (thanks to a recommendation by Ella Risbridger on Instagram, of all places) I have binged on Eva Ibbotson, not her children's books, but her elegantly written, witty and well-observed if (after a few) formulaic fables of emigrees with beautiful burnished hair fallen on hard times. I read one after another, and rather feel your Christmas might be brightened by doing the same. So may I suggest A Song for Summer, followed by The Morning Gift, then The Secret Countess, A Company of Swans, Magic Flutes, Journey to the River Sea, and The Star of Kazan. -- Nigella Lawson * The Sunday Times *
Discovering Eva Ibbotson's books is one of the nicest things that's ever happened to me. The most beautiful, delicious, wry read -- Marian Keyes
Sheer bliss from start to finish * Daily Mail *
Recently during this pandemic, my friend recommended to me the adult novels of Eva Ibbotson as a solace and a joy, and I'm so glad she did. They are so full of goodness, generosity and romance! I loved The Secret Countess...there are some beautiful observations and there is a strong message underneath it, as in all of Ibbotson's books - of welcoming people in, of caring for each other, of staying positive, of enjoying food and glamorous things, as well as nurturing the more abstract qualities that make humankind not irredeemable. Ibbotson herself was a refugee from Nazi-occupied Vienna, so she knew what she was talking about. -- Jessie Burton * Good Housekeeping *