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The Morning Gift

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  4,851 ratings  ·  399 reviews
Twenty-year-old Ruth Berger is desperate. The daughter of a Jewish-Austrian professor, she was supposed to have escaped Vienna before the Nazis marched into the city. Yet the plan went completely wrong, and while her family and fiancé are waiting for her in safety, Ruth is stuck in Vienna with no way to escape. Then she encounters her father’s younger college professor, th ...more
Hardcover, 362 pages
Published August 6th 1993 by St Martins Press (first published 1993)
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Mar 08, 2009 Beth rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Beth by: Amy
After reading the above blurb about the book, I was excited to dive in. Oh yes, this seemed to fit neatly into my preferred genre! I couldn’t tell if it was going to be more romance-ish or historical-fiction-y, but I figured either way I was set.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I really found myself struggling to get into this book. Eva Ibbotson’s writing style is flowy — I picked out one sentence that were so long, being packed with five or six wordy dependent clauses, that it literally was its
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I had to read this book - even if just for the sole reason that the main character shares my first name! On a more serious note, this book really was a fantastic read.

This was a wonderful story about a young girl called Ruth (great name btw!) who flees occupied Germany when her Jewish heritage puts her in danger.

Her family have already traveled to London but Ruth comes across various obstacles when trying to leave and family friend Quin has to step in to help her. A visiting professor, Quin is
*sob* this is the last Eva Ibbotson that I had on my shelf! I left it until last as it was the longest... oh dear, I've forgotten the name of the psychoanalyst now, but she would believe that my leaving this until last was intuitive, as I knew that it would be the best of the lot.

Well, perhaps second-best, after The Secret Countess, but that I read back in Melbourne. Of the lot I have here, counting only these prettily packaged older-YA-Picadors, it just edges out A Company of Swans to be my fav
Nov 15, 2008 Diana rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women in need of a cheesy romance
Having now waded through the bulk of this author's novels, I have detected a worrying trend. All of Ibbotson's heroines have maintained a virtuous purity that stays with them until the relationship they inevitably pursue with the hero. On the other hand, her heroes, whether it is directly stated or subtly implied, have more than a few notches on the bedpost if you catch my drift. Now, I by no means want to suggest I feel the answer to the neverending question of gender inequality is for women to ...more
Jan 04, 2012 Susanne rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who's looking for a fun sparkling romance
I had given up on Eva Ibbotson – but I'm glad to say that I was mistaken. I utterly adored this book – and laughed out loud more than once! I cannot put into words how much I liked this book but I'll try anyway.

Ruth is a sweet, charming and very charismatic heroine who attracts everyone who meets her. She’s the daughter of Professor Berger and grows up in Vienna. When the Nazis take over she’s leaving ahead of her family on a student visa, but she's sent back and the rest of the family is gone.
Another charming read from Ibbotson. I know I keep using "charming" to describe her works, but I'm not sure how else to put it. They're fun, old fashioned, sweet, funny, and altogether delightful: they're charming.

I found myself skimming in this one a little bit, something I didn't do with any of the other Ibbotson books I've read, which I'm attributing to having read four of her books in the span of about three months. Her writing style and themes are consistent enough that I had some deja vu m
Many years ago I read Ibbotson’s book A Company of Swans and absolutely adored it. I immediately went out and bought both A Countess Below Stairs and The Morning Gift. I did not enjoy The Morning Gift nearly as much as A Company of Swans. The story just starts out too slowly and wanders too much.

Ruth lives in Vienna and worships the wonderful pianist Heini who she assists in all things and is destined to marry. Then everything changes when Hilter invades Austria and Ruth and her family are force
Jake Rideout
I really liked this book, and the main character reminded me of my friend Julia from college. It's about a girl, Ruth, whose father is the dean of paleontology at a Viennese University. At the start of Hitler's reign, he is replaced with a non-Jew and his family flees to England. However, Ruth is sent ahead on a student visa and doesn't make it across the border because she has already been caught at political rallies and has been red flagged. She waits until her family leaves and then returns t ...more
In Vienna, Austria in the 1920s, Karl Berger, professor and Zoology, and his wife Leonie are raising their daughter Ruthie to be intelligent and curious about everything. When Leonie's step-sister's son Heine, the piano virtuoso comes to live with them, young Ruth falls madly in love and Heine decides that Ruth is his starling, like the starling Mozart kept in a cage to sing for him. Quinton Sommerville, a young paleontology/zoology student comes to visit and is captivated by Ruth's recitation o ...more
I am actually quite disappointed in this book. I read "A Song for Summer" and loved it and was excited to get my hands on another of Ibbotson's books.

My main complaint was that I felt like I had read the story before -- a sweeter, more compelling version with characters I found more honest and likable. I actually loved some of the secondary characters but not Ruth and Quin so much. I mean Ruth had this amazing life growing up around these amazingly smart people and living by the sea in Austria
Leita Lyn
This was the very first adult book I had read of Eva Ibbotson. When I finished, I was absolutely blown away. All my life I thought that I wanted to be an author. Every book I read just further proved that I could write like the best of them and that I too could be successful. But after The Morning Gift, I knew that I was not cut out for it. I cannot imagine a more purely beautiful, intelligent, humorous, complex novel than this, all of the above are absolute compliments. Ibbotson has forever cha ...more
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I'm such a sucker for romances. This book was good, but very frustrating. I just wanted to know that everything turned out all right, and it took a long time to get to that point. I was almost tempted to cheat and read the last chapter (which I never do) but I didn't, although I might have skimmed that last few chapters. . . All in all a very fun read :)
Rachel Lewis
While I really enjoyed this book and struggled to put it down, I did feel a little cheated by it, especially towards the end. Ibbotson has a habit in this book of ending the chapter on a cliffhanger just as her characters are making a startling discovery... and then skipping forwards in time so we never get to see their reaction or the aftermath. This is a charming and well written book (and, unusually for books of this style and genre, it wasn't particularly predictable), but 90% of it was spen ...more
Siew Ee
This is my first Eva Ibbotson book, and I selected it to determine its readability for my elder daughter. As a story, there’s lots to like and Ibbotson writes amazingly well; her style, humor and intelligent exploration of academic subjects on paleontology, music etc give this book charm and great appeal.

Of course, being first and foremost a romance fiction, I rated this book based on its romantic appeal to the reader. The romance is certainly nowhere as swoonworthy as many others I’ve read, but
Donna Alward
I love Eva Ibbotson's writing. I adored The Secret Countess (A Countess Below Stairs). And I love the WWII era so I figured The Morning Gift would be wonderful.

I'll confess it was harder to get into than I expected. While there were the right sort of "villians" - Verena and Heini were yucky - they just weren't as "delicious" as the villains in The Secret Countess. Perhaps because there wasn't an Olive to feel so protective about. In The Secret Countess, the other servants and Uncle Sebastien wer
Ruth is Jewish and lives in Vienna as the Nazi are taking her country over. She was supposed to leave, but was stopped at the border after her family has already left, and now there is no way out of Austria for her. But a friend that her academic father had invited to receive an honorary degree at his university is there to receive it and discovers Ruth is still there. There is nothing to do but to marry her so she can leave with him. He convinces her to do it, even though she is engaged to a co ...more
I always forget how much I love Eva Ibbotson until I pick up another one of her books to read. This story fed right into a recent discussion I had with one of my professors, about being "jewish" and what that means, and the very Jewish idealogy of helping people that he evidently thinks I lack. With this story of Vienna and London in the time of world war II, Eva teases out the clash between cultural ideologies, identities, and values, without feeling the need to take you to the trenches. But th ...more
The Royal ME
This was really bad. I read this straight after A Countess Below Stairs, by the same author, and this was a massive come-down. It's a shame because I've loved some of Eva Ibbotson's books, and disliked others, so I don't really know what my opinion of her is. One thing I can say for sure is I won't be reading any more of her books.
Because I enjoyed The Reluctant Heiress, I decided to read another Ibbotson romance, The Morning Gift. I actually liked the characters and setting more than "Heiress." But I'm getting tired of the "talented but helpless female needs rescuing by strong, stoic male" scenario. Ibbotson's writing is usually delightful, but I found this book frustrating. The most frustrating thing to me was the brief and sudden nature of the final reconciliation scene. These two characters have spent an entire book k ...more
Kate Quinn
A delightful romantic comedy of a book, and unlike most romantic comedies, it does not lose the comedy halfway through. Ruth is a Jewish girl in pre-WWII Vienna, engaged to a budding concert pianist, an enthusiastic headlong girl in love with science, music, and life. Quin is an Indiana Jones-type professor, a dry English daredevil with a scientific bent. When Ruth's family has to flee Vienna ahead of the Nazis and she is stranded behind, Quin comes to her rescue the only way he can: he marries ...more
I really liked this book, it took me half the book to figure out what it was that I was having a hard time with. The reading didn't just flow at times. I read about the author and she is from Austria, I'm wondering if it was originally written in german and then translated. It takes place in the pre-WWII time period, just as Hitler is taking over Austria. Ruth is a brilliant 20 year old girl who is trying to get to England and out of the Nazi occupied Austria. The only way to escape is to marry ...more
Feb 21, 2009 Muriel rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Muriel by: Salford
Another lovely story from Ibbotson. This one is more involved than the last one I read but it still features a lot of wonderful secondary characters from Ruth's family and friends to Quin's imposing aunt. Quin made for an interestingly moody hero and the heroine with her curious chattiness reminded me a bit of one of my all-time favorite characters, Anne Shirley... I actually started to picture Megan Follows in my head as I was reading.

I enjoyed the love affair here and only wish the misundersta
Both writing and storyline are beautiful and precise. At points, my heart was jumping out of my chest.
Beth Knight
This was a lovely book recommended to me by my dear friend, Fiona. I needed something light and nice to read during a diificult time (I usually read very dark books) and this was perfect. It has lovavble(and a couple of not so lovable) characters. It's a love story (I wouldn't classify it as a romance, as our library did)that takes place on the edge and at the beginning of WWII, but it really doesn't get into any gory details. I really grew to love the main character, Ruth. If you're looking for ...more
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LH Johnson
I was thinking about The Morning Gift this morning, this strange, heightened, musical book full of grace and elegance and wry sentences that curl in on themselves with sudden witticisms and side-remarks, and I was reminded about how good Eva Ibbotson can be. She is remarkable. This book, this story of Ruth and Quin, a girl rescued from Vienna and from Nazism by a boy and brought to England, and their story of love and idiocy and stupidity and perfect, perfect moments, is something. It is somethi ...more
The good bits are very good, but I'm glad it was a library book.

The writing is good and often funny. The secondary characters are appealing (except the villains who are appropriately loathsome - even then not entirely unsympathetic). There are moments of nuance and complexity. Her descriptions of Belsize Park are evocative and her halls of academe evoke many memories for me. These are all good things.

Ruth, a music and book loving paleontology student who sometimes mistakes art for life learning
The protagonist in this story annoyed me tremendously the first time I read it, since she is one of those hyper-lovable-smart girls that Ibbotson likes to write about, but so hyper-lovable-smart she was just grating.
A couple years later, I have changed my mind. She's still hyper-lovable-smart to an obnoxious degree, but this time I am seeing how the story is driven by the huge mistakes she makes. That hyper-goodness is as much a character defect as it is an unachievable level of manic pixie gir
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Young Adult Histo...: The Morning Gift by Eva Ibbotson 6 25 Dec 01, 2014 11:04PM  
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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...
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“I want to live like music sounds."- Ruth” 46 likes
“One must not judge other cultures by the standars of one's one,' said Aunt Hilda” 25 likes
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