Angie's Reviews > A Song for Summer

A Song for Summer by Eva Ibbotson
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Mar 18, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: belovedbookshelf, ya
Read in March, 2008

Set in Austria and London just before and during World War II, A Song for Summer follows a young woman named Ellen Carr who takes a job as a housekeeper at an unusual private school in the Austrian Alps. I knew this book and I would get on when Ellen first arrived at Schloss Hallendorf to find a tortoise on wheels speeding across the lawn.

Soon after the well-equipped tortoise, Ellen encounters Professor Chomsky who teaches metalwork and swims naked in the lake at all hours, Professor Ritter who teaches drama and encourages the children to be kitchen utensils and to give birth to themselves, and a cabbage-person from an English mining village masquerading as a Russian ballerina. These delightful, at time hilarious, side characters bring a wonderful flavor and variety to the novel as, one by one, they are drawn into the bright circle of Ellen's influence. There is humor, danger, romance, and a beautiful longing for the world as it was and as it should be among the pages of this book. Ibbotson's light, lyrical writing flowed through each chapter, like the glissandi and grace notes of the music that is so central to its theme. And at is core is Ellen, a girl who is both strong and domestically inclined. The daughter and niece of dyed in the wool suffragettes, she is independent and smart and firmly chooses baking over marching. And, as so many of the characters do, reading this book means falling in love with her.

This was my first Eva Ibbotson book and I can't tell you how much I enjoyed it. I have to say, finding a fabulous debut author is a delightful experience. But is there anything that compares with the tingle of discovering a wonderful established author, who already has six or seven books out there ready and waiting and in paperback? Nope, nothing comes to mind.
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06/26/2016 marked as: read

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