Monday, April 27, 2009

Review: A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson

Book Info:
A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Puffin (May 10, 2007)
ISBN-13: 9780142408650
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 3/5

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background and takes a job as servant in the household of the esteemed Westerholme family, armed only with an outdated housekeeping manual and sheer determination.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. . . .

A Countess Below Stairs has a fairly typical fairy-tale plot and while I should have been expecting this, I wasn't. I don't often read the backs of books. I like to know just enough about them before I read them to interest me, but I still like to be surprised. If I had read the back of this one I may have skipped it. It wasn't bad, and I enjoyed it, but the fairy-tale, happily ever after stories aren't my favorite.

While the plot was predictable, there were some fun characters to help keep things interesting. Anna, our heroine, is feisty and outspoken. She added a bit of sunshine to otherwise mundane days in the household. Muriel, Rupert's fiancee, was wonderfully nasty. She is one of those great characters who I love to hate. Her nastiness was a nice balance to Anna's sweetness.

I'm a bit past my happily ever after stage, and think I would have enjoyed this one much more in my younger days. (That makes me sound old, doesn't it?) It's an ok story, but didn't have the extra something to make it stand out. 3 stars


Sandy Nawrot said...

It doesn't make you sound old, just realistic! I'm the same way. Predictable is good for me about once a year. Otherwise, I want twists and turns and above all, I don't want to be able to figure out what is going to happen! But I do love bitchy, mean fiancees. They're such fun!

Jen said...

Eva Ibbotson = Awesome

Zibilee said...

I think I might like this one because I do sometimes enjoy a fairytale style and a happy ending. My teen daughter might enjoy it as well. Thanks for the review.