Magic Flutes
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Magic Flutes

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  4,961 ratings  ·  423 reviews
Spring, 1922 - Tessa is a beautiful, tiny, dark-eyed princess - who's given up her duties to follow her heart, working for nothing backstage at the Viennese opera. No one there knows who she really is, or that a fairytale castle is missing its princess, and Tessa is determined to keep it that way. But secret lives can be complicated. When a wealthy, handsome Englishman dis...more
Paperback, 264 pages
Published July 1st 1986 by Warner Books (NY) (first published 1982)
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Katie Hutchison Irion
Alright, I really like this author but enough is enough. I think I have read too many of her books in too short of time. Heck, I think I could write one of these books. Hmm, here goes. Impoverished adorable female heroine who, despite very bleak odds, is still the happiest, calmest, sweetest girl on the block. It doesn't matter that her parents hate her of she has no money, her beauty shines through the mess her life is in. Rich, tall, dashingly attractive man comes on the scene. Has all the mon...more
Melissa
Update: I finished... actually, I skipped a lot of the book. I just couldn't get into it. And it wasn't even the random big words (see earlier rant below). I just didn't really care about these characters. And there was so much in this book that didn't seem to fit quite right or that just felt like filler. I really doubt I'll ever read anything by Eva Ibbotson again.

Just a quick note... I'm only 40 pages in and I'm a bit annoyed with the author. "Vituperative" and "salubrious"? Really? She could...more
Maninee
Jul 01, 2012 Maninee rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Maninee by: Avisikta
Shelves: romance
When I flipped through the book at the library the cover told me this was the story of beautiful dark eyed princess who has shrugged off her royal duties and taken up the life of theatre and how she meets and falls in love with a handsome and rich English businessman. For me atleast the story isn't so much about romance really. Atleast, not one of those heady romances where every other page is filled with detailed descriptions of the heroine's face. No, this was less of romance and more of, well...more
Angie
I was so excited to find another Eva Ibbotson book! Awhile back I blew through A Song for Summer, A Countess Below Stairs, A Company of Swans, and The Morning Gift. When I surfaced again, I found myself really hoping the magic spell wouldn't end there. Happily there was one more sweet historical in store for me. THE RELUCTANT HEIRESS is a (retitled) re-issue of Ibbotson's Magic Flutes, which was originally published in 1982. It is set in the 1920s and revolves around the outrageously funny and t...more
Anne Osterlund
Another joyous romp through Eva Ibbotson's world of love in the face of early 20th century post-war Europe, great art, and truly disarming heroines. Tessa (who just happens to be an Italian princess) has dedicated herself as a maid of all work in the service of opera. Guy (tycoon/former foster child & chaos creater) buys up her old palace in honor of his fiance. Said fiance turns out to be in love with herself. Which is actually a good thing because you know sooner or later Tessa & Guy a...more
Kristy
I feel like I am in a Bad Book Rut, I need a good book asap to restore my faith in writers everywhere!!

Author Eva Ibbostson is 1-1. Her book "A countess below stairs" was wonderful, I thouroughly enjoyed reading it. This book, "The Reluctant Heiress' was a flop.
It took me about 200 pages of reading this one (or scanning it) to become half-way interested. The wording in this one is just too much. I know she was trying to write fitting to the time period, but I just really didn't like it. The char...more
snowplum
When I reviewed A Countless Below Stairs last week, I felt as though I couldn't single out one of Eva Ibbotson's books for a 5-star rating because I love them all and don't have a favorite. Since then, a couple of friends have read my review and expressed interest, and I found myself backtracking from Countess and recommending The Reluctant Heiress (in some editions alternatively titled Magic Flutes) because they would probably like it even more. Apparently I have a favorite.

It will be difficult...more
Candi
If I had read this book before I read A Countess Below Stairs it would have been one of my favorite books. A beautiful story with such a great leading lady, and the opera...Debussy, Mozart, Puccini--love love love. I like the sacrifice of everything toward the greater good of music, and that Beethoven's button business-genius.
However, this is strikingly similar to A Countess Below Stairs and that book has a slightly more appealing hero, bigger climax moment with that great line that goes somethi...more
Kate Quinn
Eva Ibbotson's usual lovely effort to raise the bar in the romance category, redeeming a typical fairy-tale plot with real people and real humor. Taking place in Austria just after World War I, we are swiftly introduced to two people obviously intended for each other: Guy, an English foundling turned self-made millionaire, and Tessa, an Austrian princess with a lineage that goes back to Charlemagne. But Guy is smitten with a snobbish fiancee and buys Tessa's castle to impress her, while Tessa is...more
Barbara
Oh no, fooled by the great re-naming bug. I loved this book when I read it years ago under its original title of Magic Flutes. The new packaging is nice. However, all the time I was waiting for this to come out I thought I was waiting for a NEW story.
Nicole Catherine
Nov 11, 2009 Nicole Catherine rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fluffy not-quite-squeaky-clean romance lovers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Josie
This was typical Eva Ibbotson fare: a story that's just predictable enough to make it feel cosy and well-loved without feeling boring or clichéd. I like her blend of simple storytelling mixed with delicious description, only in this case I found the description began to detract from the story. I can forgive a little exaggeration, but too much and I start to squirm. Oh, and Guy's eyes changing colour felt just a bit too much for me. And -- as with all Eva Ibbotson's books -- there were references...more
Delaina
How does one describe the novels of Eva Ibbotson? She has a way of blending outlandishly caricatured, eminently familiar hero and villain types with simple, earnest storytelling. Damning with faint praise, you say? No, no, for she does it so very well that, as a reader, you allow yourself to be swept away into her unabashedly modern fairy tale world. And her YA romance novels are nothing if not that. They don't contain the obvious trappings of fairy tales, for the characters are real people (eve...more
Amanda
As always, "The Reluctant Heiress" kept my not only my heart, but my emotional well-being on a roller coaster. Though it was not one of my favorite of Eva Ibbotson's works, for I was not groveling in painful tears and heartache as usual, it was none the less an enriching and enchanting piece of literature, starring as usual a humble, most-likable heroin, a man, this time battling with love's folly, and of course - conflict, at which Mrs. Ibbotson is distinguished in my opinion. Again, I was surp...more
Lady Knight
While I have to saw that I found this a highly enjoyable book, I really felt that it drug on for way too long. Despite knowing how it would work out before I even opened the book, after finishing the first third, I honestly thought that the book should have ended. It's almost as if Ibbotson ended it and then decided that she wasn't quite finished with the characters and chose to change a couple of lines and then continue on for another couple hundred pages. Thus, while good, I've read better in...more
Clare Cannon
Apr 29, 2010 Clare Cannon rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 11-16 years (girls)
Shelves: 13-15yrs, young-adult
Ibbotson's writing is entrancing, and this is another un-put-down-able romance for teens.

There are none of the direct scenes that appear in some of her other books for older readers, though a few mature-theme references prevent it being suitable for under 13s. As it is, I'd keep it for 15+

Part of the reason it's so easy to 'lose your heart' in her stories is that her female characters are superb. How she can make an ordinary looking, hard-working, self-sacrificing and kind-hearted girl look abs...more
Nan
This book was exactly what I wanted at exactly the right time. I was suffering from a migraine yesterday when I started it, and this light and fluffy concoction was enough to distract me from my pain while still being light enough not to add to my strain.

This book is entirely predictable, but that's part of the reason you'll want to turn to it. As much as we readers know how the narrative will end, it's a delight getting there. The characters are lively and often filled with joy. Love of music f...more
Flannery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Milly
Hehehehe...I just finished reading someone else's review of this book and no longer feel dumb in thinking that there was a superfluous of big and foreign words in this book. I eventually got too lazy to constantly check the dictionary and instead decided to just power read through the paragraphs littered with these magnanimous words. I've read previous books from this author and didn't suffer as much so I thought perhaps the author made an effort to represent the time period (1920s), the charact...more
Debbie
I know, I KNOW, that any time I pick up one of Eva Ibbotson's romances, I can't put it down. I KNOW THIS. And yet, last night when I got home after midnight, I STILL PICKED IT UP. Fortunately I could sleep in this morning.

The remarkable thing about this unbreakable grip Ibbotson's books have on me is that the main characters are the same from book to book, which you'd think would get boring. All the girls are young and full of loving, giving life, and all the guys are about 10 years older, hot-t...more
Courtney
A republican princess of the people is charmed by a self-made orphan who buys her castle and shares her love of opera. This is the barest of summaries. A sweet, predictable book. I regret that I did not believe the relationship between Guy and Tessa, neither in its early stages, nor in its progression. Also I dislike that Ibbotson's bad-guy characters are so two-dimensional. Why do they have no redeeming qualities? Their shallow, self-absorption makes them the perfect fairy-tale foils (and utter...more
Miss Clark
The best of Eva Ibbotson's "romance" books. All her books share a gorgeous style, a way with words that brings everything to life and moves the story along, even when there is very little action and no surprises. (No offense, but the stories are very formulaic. But she manages to make the simple plot lines poignant and moving and real each and every time so you don't care if you know what is going to happen - you just love listening to her tell the story and seeing the story unfold.) She had the...more
Kiri
Delicious to read! Oh my, was it fun. I charged through the finale of this book over morning coffee, and I rapidly became in danger of being late to work because I just could not stop reading. The entire book is delightful and light on its toes and so like an opera. So appropriate that the production of an opera makes up a great deal of the book.

I was a little disappointed by the pace of the final bits, as certain crucial plot points take place "offstage" and are then described by one character...more
Letty
One of the best love stories I've read in a long time! Written with a unique, quirky style and voice, skillfully crafted and satisfyingly sappy, this is a charming love story you won't want to miss! One of those unique romances where the fabulous essence of the character within both leading man and leading lady leaves you dying to take either one to lunch, and completely convinced that true love cannot help but follow them all of their days. One of those vanishingly rare 'romance' stories that d...more
Amy
I'm not sure which is more crazy, the fact that I read this book or that I enjoyed it! First alluring the reader in with a cover of a sweet looking young woman, the book tells the tale of two people: a princess in the glory of a fading court, and a waif found upon the docks who turned himself into a millionaire.
A romance, a historical adventure, and almost fairy-tale, "The Reluctant Heiress" sweeps a reader into the 1930s and the adventures of music, theater, and 'republicanism'. With good writ...more
Syntha Green
While I routinely recommend her children's book to anyone and everyone, I had never read one of her YA titles. I greatly enjoyed her characters and her historical setting. Her knowledge of music and/or research is impressive and I do love a book which shows a wide vocabulary. Perhaps a tad too sweet for today's paranormal devouring teens, but precocious tweens, older ladies (including my mom), voracious readers and those bookish ones for whom whom ink runs though their veins instead of blood sho...more
Maryanne
Another delightful, romantic historical novel from this author, full of vivid characters and immersing you in its setting. This time, we are transported to Vienna between the World Wars and to the neglected castle Pfaffenstein which is barely being kept together by aging aristocrats. The young heiress, scraping by as a lackey in an opera company for the love of the art, agrees to sell the castle and lands to a wealthy, self-made man whose origins as a foundling scandalizes some in society. There...more
Patricia
"Being an heiress in 1920s Austria with nothing but a broken-down castle to your name and nary a penny in your purse could be frustrating for anyone but the Princess Theresa-Maria of Pfaffenstein." I loved reading this book--a book smarter than I am. I've read other books by Ibbotson (prior to goodreads.com): Star of Kazan, Which Witch?, Countess Below Stairs, and The Secret of Platform 13. I think I will have to read a few more.
Hilary Nekvinda
Set in Austria in the 1920's, this story follows two narratives, Tessa and Guy. Tessa is a princess with nothing to her name, but she's ok with that. She is able to focus on her love of the performing arts. Guy is of a higher class and meets Tessa while attending the opera. At first the two seem like an impossible pair, but the reader follows along as the two wrestle with their own thoughts and feelings.

This is not a bad book, it's just not my "cup of tea." It has a lot of fluff and less conten...more
Dexter/Persy
Not my favorite of her's, but I think it's actually just that the more you read of her historical romances, the less amazing they are because you get more used to them. It's still great though. I love the solution they all come with, and of course Guy Farne was awesome (as is usually the case with Ibbotson's male protagonists).
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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
More about Eva Ibbotson...
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“I must go-- the aunts will be worried. Guy, I don't know if we will meet again, but--" Her voice broke and she tried again. "Sometimes, when you're alone and you look up at--" Once more, she had to stop. Then she managed, "If I cannot be anything else... could I be your Star Sister? Could I at least be that?"

Guy dug his nails into his palms. Everything in him rose in protest at the fey, romantic conceit. He did not want her in the heavens, linked to him by some celestial whimsy, but here and now in the flesh and after the death of the flesh, her hand in his as they rose from graves like these when the last trump sounded.

"Yes," he managed to say. "You can be my Star Sister. You can at least be that.”
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“She took a deep breath, inhaling the night air scented with hay, honeysuckle and the rich waters of the lake, listened to the music and laughter coming from the theatre, tilted her head to the the stars. She had never seen them so brilliant and clear. Cassiopeia, Orion, the great girdle of the Milky Way-and her own birth sign, Gemini. With such staggering beauty in the world, how could anyone not rejoice?

It seemed however, that 'anyone' could. For at once came the age-old cry of lovers since time began. 'What are the stars if i am not gazing at them with him? What is beauty except something we share?”
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