Madensky Square
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Madensky Square

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  342 ratings  ·  62 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...more
Paperback, Print On Demand, 264 pages
Published January 19th 2012 by Bello (first published 1988)
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Lauren
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...more
Deirdre
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...more
Maureen E
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]
Louise
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,...more
Kate Quinn
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
LaFleurBleue
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...more
Jennifer
Mar 31, 2008 Jennifer rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jann
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.
Muriel
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.
Denise Childs
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!
Andrea
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
Cheryl A
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...more
Ela
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...more
Sally
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...more
Jessica
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...more
Qnpoohbear
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
Laurel Tyndall
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...more
Jess
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
Jennybeast
It's more of a romance with Vienna and a time of beauty than a romance of persons. Tragic and beguiling. Quietly told and measured in pace, beautifully told.
Karen
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
Gigi Meyer
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.

Katrina
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.
Betty
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.
Yang Shu-yuan
Kurzbeschreibung
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?

Jessica Oban
Jul 14, 2010 Jessica Oban rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Smart chick lit readers
Recommended to Jessica by: Stephenie M.
I was really surprised as to how much I liked this book. It's about a couple of mistress in Vienna 1911 who makes the most beautiful clothing. My interest waned in the beginning, but something told me to go through with it and I'm glad I did. It was a really cute chick-lit, without being to chick-litty. You know? You don't have to be embarrassed about reading this book. A nice, tea time read.
Nina
Interesting read. It was like "Sex in the City," but the city was Vienna in the 1910 and 1920s. Carrie was Susanna who owned a dress shop. Her Samantha was her friend who operated the hat shop down the street. They talked of sex, but no steamy sex scenes here. And they talked about fashion... A lot. But fashion of imperial Austria. It was odd, but so well-written, I kept reading.
Stacy
I'm a little shocked that I liked a historical romance this much. I can't believe I read a Viennese story set a century ago...and found it enjoyable!

The characters were given a depth rarely seen in books in this genre and I loved that so many relationships were taboo but successful. The women were typically strong, independent and resourceful, even the smallest baby :)
Sarah Sullivan
I read somewhere that this novel (for adults) was actually Ibbotson's favorite of her own work. I'd never even heard of it, but knowing that I had to track it down. And it was so lovely - all the charm of an Ibbotson novel with adult content! What more could a girl ask for? Sure, some of it reads as dated, but that's just part of the appeal.
Madelyne
Eva Ibbotson's love for Vienna is undeniable in most of her works. Madensky Square is no acception. Lovely descriptions of this far off place, make me long to visit. The authors ability to paint a picture of the clothing was beautiful. My only dislike of the book was the presence of mistresses in the story, otherwise wonderful as always!
Arlie
Ibbotson's style didn't let me down - the book was light, happy, sad, and humourous. The narrator is a dressmaker in Vienna shortly before World War 1; she loves her city and shares the square charmingly with the reader. Unfortunately, I read Ibbotson's best book first ('The Secret Countess'), and none of the others quite live up to its standard.
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Eva Ibbotson (born Maria Charlotte Michelle Wiesner, 1925, Vienna, Austria) 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 graduat...more
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