Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Madensky Square” as Want to Read:
Madensky Square
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Madensky Square

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  528 Ratings  ·  72 Reviews
Susanna Weber is renowned for producing the most elegant, exquisite couture in Vienna. As all of fashionable society passes through her fitting room, Susanna touches numerous lives as matchmaker, comforter, confidante...and passionate lover.

From the improverished yet proud Countess von Metz, to Nini the volatile Hungarian anarchist; from Sigismund Kraszinsky, the young mu
Paperback, 253 pages
Published June 30th 1998 by Arrow Books (first published 1988)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Madensky Square, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Madensky Square

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Apr 01, 2012 Lauren rated it it was ok
Shelves: depression, fashion
The book description and other reviews for this book were misleading. It wasn't at all charming, delightful or romantic. It was deeply depressing actually. Looks matter and nothing else. Women are entirely to blame for a bad marriage and men are virtuous and deceived by ugly wives.
The icing on the cake was the story Susanna shares with her friend Alice about a buck-tooth girl who tricked a poor guy into being saddled with her. They bemoan the fate of the poor men with bad wives.
Right. I think it
I had to make another new shelf for this, because "cosy comfort reads" is so precisely what it is, and without such a shelf it would be left with nothing to describe it save for its place and time.

It could be a romance maybe, but it's not only or entirely that. Of course there's Susanna and Gernot, but that's not the main focus of the story. This isn't a romance novel, just a novel with romance in it.

It's absolutely beautiful... the pace and the language are just divine. I wasn't sure I would li
Aug 24, 2009 Deirdre rated it really liked it
A story about Susanna Weber, who is a dressmaker, set in 1911, before the world was consumed by World War I but where sabre rattling was already starting to be heard. Anarchism is seen as an interesting hobby and life is interesting. Susanna has carved herself a life in Madensky Square, knows the people there and where she works and lives.

This is an interesting time in her life a time of love and sorrow; of change and trials but overall a story of a life well lived. It's not quite a romance, it
Maureen E
Sep 06, 2011 Maureen E rated it it was ok
This is not quite in Ibbotson’s usual line, and I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much. Susanne is a clothing designer with a store in Madensky Square. She records life in the square, as well as her thoughts and struggles in a diary. I finished mostly because I was on an Ibbotson kick and wanted to get through it. [Mar.2011]
Denise Childs
Apr 01, 2012 Denise Childs rated it it was amazing
To read Eva Ibbotson is to love Eva Ibbotson, but I really think this book captured a glimpse into the author that I hadn't seen before. It showed a depth and just a little hint at something that isn't visible in her other books! She has completely captured me with Madensky Square!
Nov 25, 2012 Rhode rated it it was amazing
This is a book tinged with a certain bittersweet, calm middle European melancholia that I enjoy, but suspect some Americans might not like the flavor of. It is romantic and thoughtful, with a marvelous sense of place and history. And the characters are all so well drawn, people who make you (or at least me) smile in passing. It's an intelligent book, written by a woman who herself came originally from the city it's written about. She knows and clearly deeply loves these places and people, althou ...more
Mar 20, 2009 Louise rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
First time reading this author and I was pleasantly surprised by the story. It was delightful.

From back cover:

"Susanna Weber is renowned for producing the most elegant, exquisite couture in Vienna. As all of fashionable society passes through her fitting room, Susanna touches numerous lives as matchmaker, comforter, confidante...and passionate lover.

From the improverished yet proud Countess von Metz, to Nini the volatile Hungarian anarchist; from Sigismund Kraszinsky, the young musical prodigy,
Kate Quinn
May 04, 2009 Kate Quinn rated it it was amazing
Eva Ibbotson writes romances, but hers are better than the common. For one thing, her romances are funny. For another, her writing is exquisite. This is the story of a dressmaker in Vienna, a woman who observes life sometimes with poignancy (when she thinks of the daughter she lost) and sometimes with humor (observing her clients, like the woman who always comes in wanting to look like Pocahantes or Isadora Duncan or Karsavina). A lovely read - it might be a romance, but don't let that put you o ...more
Apr 19, 2010 Jann rated it liked it
This is an adult Ibbotson. Once again I thought the story was charming and engaging. Not quite the romantic fairy tale that the YA novel was. The main character writes of sort of diary of her life over a year. I like her characters and style and look forward to reading more of her books. Also, I like the pre-WWI Austrian setting. It's a place or time I've thought about much.
Mar 02, 2009 Muriel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a lovely book and rather different than the other two Ibbotson books I've read so far. Her heroines tend to be lovely young paragons of virtue and near perfection, Frau Susanah does not fall into either category. The book has the usual assortment of colorful characters and their stories are told through Susannah's journal along with her own melancholy tale.
Mar 28, 2008 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jennifer by: Dear Author
This was a soft, moving historical fiction about a place and time I've never read about. Set in Vienna right before World War I breaks out, the books is excerpts from a diary of a dressmaker. I think the best part about this book is that you really get a feel for the setting and the time period. Vienna, and Madensky Square, really feels alive through the small details in the dressmaker's diary.
Aug 11, 2010 Andrea rated it liked it
I like the way the book was written but I just couldn't like any of the people in the book. All the men cheating on their wives, and their mistresses not caring if they hurt anybody... I despise those types of women so it made it hard for me to get the real beauty of the book
Apr 13, 2016 Josie rated it really liked it
Recommended to Josie by: Katie
[Audiobook version]

I didn't love this as much as I've loved other Ibbotson books, but it was still sweetly charming but with an added dash of realism that you don't find in her YA books. Susanna's grief over the daughter she gave up was complex and heart-breaking and bittersweet. I also thought it was great that both Susanna and Alice were mistresses, and not judged at all for this. Alice's heartbreak over not being able to visit Rudi in hospital was especially well portrayed, and the scenes bet
This book is rather different from her other adult romances, it's written as a first person journal by Susanna Weber who owns a dress shop in 1911 Vienna. Susanna is older (36) and she's worked hard to build up a successful clientele. She won't take help from anyone, not even the man she loves. Susanna loves her shop and can easily manage the difficult clients as well as her anarchist shop assistant, Nini. She also loves the square and all the people who live around it. Their daily lives and int ...more
Feb 26, 2012 Ela rated it really liked it
Set pre-World War I, in Vienna, Madensky Square tells the story of a year in the life of Susanna. Susannah is middle aged, pretty and owns a dress shop. She is also having an affair with a married man.

Because this book was set around the lives of older women, who were either married or mistresses it had a different feel to Eva Ibbosten's previous books. It lacks the fairy tale ending that heroines in her books usually marry into. (Maybe this is reflecting the fact that this book is set before ei
Feb 26, 2014 LaFleurBleue rated it liked it
Quite different from previous Eva Ibbotson's books I read (all targeted to adults, not YA).
It was written at the first person and corresponded to the diary of a middle-aged dressmaker during one year. It was very nicely managed, in the sense that I could feel the moods of the writer, according to what she remembered of her past, what emotions she was going through. The progressive discovery of her past, her secrets did not feel restrained by an author trying to keep the suspense for as long as
Cheryl A
Jun 25, 2012 Cheryl A rated it really liked it
Readers, beware. This is a love story. It is not a romance. Author Ibbotson ventures away from her fairy tale YA love stories to take us to Vienna before the Great War and show us idyllic Viennese square full of flawed characters and above all, love.

Susanna Weber is a dressmaker in Madensky Square, home to wide assortment of tradespeople and families. Susanna has a troubled past and a loss that she keeps hidden from her neighbors, but that doesn't prevent her from striving to help those she relu
First, I have to admit that I was predisposed to like this when Nancy Pearl handed me a copy and told me she thought I'd love it. She was right, of course.

The jacket copy hints that the city is on the eve of WWI, so I was hesitant to start the book-- I wasn't in the headspace to read about war, I wanted a cozy romance. While I can definitely say this was a romance, it wasn't a usual romance, and what I was far more interested in was Susanna herself, not her lover.

If you love sensous descriptions
Feb 15, 2015 MaryKate rated it really liked it
I loved this fluffy little book. Susanna was charming. You could feel that she was this happy goodness that several characters, her lover in particular, described. The characters that came into her shop were delightfully quirky and how she handled them ideal. The idealism of it all might have been insipid had there not be real tragedy in Susanna's life and no story dragged on too long. Sure much of it was predictable but it worked for me in this book. This is not a perfect world but a happier ve ...more
Laurel Tyndall
Jul 08, 2012 Laurel Tyndall rated it really liked it
This was not my favorite of Mrs. Ibbotson's, by any means. I got it because I had read all of her other (teenage) books, and was interested in trying out 'Madensky Square', but it was not at all like any of her others. (Or, rather, it is just like them, only for, and about, an older woman. That is not, by any means, to say that I didn't enjoy it, because I really, really did!

I wholeheartedly believe that in a few years, when I'm not 23 and far node interested in teenage books like I am at the m
Everything about Ibbotson's book is charming - the beautiful descriptions of pre-WWI life in Vienna, the large, but well-described cast of supporting characters, and the narrator, Susanna. Susanna 's personal story was moving, and I appreciated that Ibbotson didn't tie every loose end in a pink bow at the end - her writing was too realistic for that. I was shocked to see that the book was written in the last 20 years - this valentine to a lost era felt so true to its period that it seemed to hav ...more
Dec 31, 2016 Claire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a fan of the whole mistress thing (Ibbotson's always been pretty liberal about how she treats sex, though, so I wasn't surprised that she never addressed the problems attendant with breaking marriage vows), but other than that this was a beautiful story. Warm, tightly woven without being obvious about the foreshadowed connections, kind and varied characters, beautiful friendships. If she could only have cut out the mistress element (which she couldn't, it's central to the plot, unfortunately ...more
Jan 12, 2011 Jess rated it really liked it
This one has a different flavor than Ibbotson's other adult novels that have been repackaged for young adult readers - which is perhaps why it hasn't been republished with the rest. The story is definitely more focused on adult concerns, rather than those of a young woman just entering adulthood. Some Ibbotson fans seem thrown off by the way she deals with mistresses and adultery, but to me the story was more about evoking Vienna of a particular period, bringing the city to life in a wonderful w ...more
Oct 04, 2015 Rachel rated it really liked it
I really lost interest about halfway through; the story seemed to be just about being a mistress to a man and little really was happening. However I'm glad I stuck with the book as I became really interested in how it was all going to be resolved. Most of it was pretty obvious as the author isn't particularly skilled at hints, they're pretty heavy handed signposts!

Overall I did enjoy the book and appreciated the humour. It's light and fairly frothy but has a satisfactory ending.
Gigi Meyer
Dec 05, 2008 Gigi Meyer rated it it was ok
I heard an interview with Stephanie Meyer, who loved this book because of its exquisite detail. Intrigued, I began to read Madensky Square. Bored, I put it down before the first 50 pages. Defeated, I tried to read it again. Due (as in the book was due at the library), I gave up with no desire to ever check it out again.

I lost any hope of connecting with the main character when I read she was a mistress.

Apr 04, 2010 Katrina rated it really liked it
Shelves: clean-reads
I first fell in love with Eva Ibbotson's novels when I listened to an audio disc of A Company of Swans. And once I find a book that I love, I try and read more, if not all of the books from said author. Madensky Square has been the last of her books that I have read so far, and just with the first, it did not disappoint. If you are interested in clean love stories set about a century or so ago, this is a great pick.
Yang Shu-yuan
Sep 27, 2009 Yang Shu-yuan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mitten im glanzvollen Wien der Jahrhundertwende führt die junge Susanna Weber ihren Modesalon. Jeder schätzt ihr freundliches Wesen und so ist sie vielen eine verschwiegene Vertraute. Aber ihr eigenes Geheimnis darf niemand erfahren: Standesgrenzen trennen sie von dem Mann, den sie liebt. Als ihrem Modesalon das Aus droht, ist Susanna verzweifelt. Wer wird ihr in der Not helfen?

Sep 29, 2012 Betty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: austria
Published in 1988, this book reads like one decades older. Set in 1911 in Vienna, it casts no hint of the war to come. Instead it is a romance narrated by a dressmaker focussing on the people who live in Madensky Square or come as her customers or friends. And though it is filled with happy endings, it's not saccharine. Quite a nice read and a good book to balance out all that noir fiction that seems to come my way.
Katrina Schneider
Nov 06, 2013 Katrina Schneider rated it it was ok
I've read a few of her other books and really enjoyed them. I just couldn't make it through this one. It didn't keep my attention and I kept getting lost in descriptions of everything around her. There comes a point when you describe things so much that the reader has to go back to remember what you were describing in the first place.
Jun 23, 2011 Jennifer rated it it was ok
I adore Eva Ibbotson's children's books. I read this because a friend of hers wrote a lovely memorial piece about her in Hornbook and recommended this adult romance. You wouldn't blush to hand it to your mother-in-law at the beach, but I can't really recommend it to fans of her work for younger readers.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • At the Sign of the Star
  • The Captain's Inheritance (Rothschild Trilogy #3)
  • The Bar Sinister (Clanross,0.5)
  • Libby's London Merchant (Nesbitt, #1)
  • Great Maria
  • The Thirtieth Year: Stories
  • Shalimar
  • The Counterfeit Marriage
  • Dark North
  • 40 Whacks: New Evidence in the Life and Legend of Lizzie Borden
  • Georgy Girl
  • Csardas
  • Fever Hill (Daughters of Eden Trilogy #2)
  • The Sergeant's Lady (The Arringtons and Wright-Gordons, #2)
  • Floods, Famines, And Emperors: El Nino And The Fate Of Civilizations
  • The Neandertal Enigma: Solving the Mystery of Human Origins
  • Dance for a Diamond
  • Jane Austen in Boca
Eva Ibbotson (born Maria Charlotte Michelle Wiesner) was a British novelist specializing in romance and children's fantasy.

Eva Ibbotson was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1925. When Hitler came into power, Ibbotson's family moved to England. She attended Bedford College, graduating in 1945; Cambridge University from 1946-47; and the University of Durham, from which she graduated with a diploma in edu
More about Eva Ibbotson...

Share This Book