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The Morning Gift

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  6,428 ratings  ·  526 reviews
Ruth lives in the beautiful city of Vienna and is wildly in love with Heini Radik, a brilliant young pianist. But her world is about to change forever. When Hitler's forces invade Ruth's family flees to London, but she is unable to get a passport. Quin, a young professor and friend of the family, visits Ruth and in an effort to bring her back to London, he offers a ...more
Paperback, 507 pages
Published October 5th 2007 by Picador (first published 1993)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,428 ratings  ·  526 reviews

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Feb 23, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  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
Jul 27, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I remember now why I decided (after A Song for Summer) why I should give some time before I take next book of Eva Ibbotson. Again, on the one hand I am enchanted and I want to read more of her stories, on the other hand I feel that I must recover after this one.

Here we have a vanishing world of Austrian culture which for long time (until world wars) was one of the highest in the world. Who from West Europe or USA remembers / knows today how important Vienna was? If you don't know you can start
Rachel McMillan
I don't know how I missed this one. Because I have read a lot of Eva Ibbotson. But I missed it and that is lucky for me because I have found it and now I have another book for my keeper shelf and what a book.

This book is hilariously sharp. And while a lot of us read Ibbotson when we were younger because she had just been released as YA and her fairy tales were just the aching sort of thing we would fall into as uber romantic teens who wanted older cultured men and european locales (with the
*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
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How am I just now reading Ibbotson? Her writing sparkles with humor and romance and generous dash of fairytale dust that makes it impossible not to believe in true love and happy endings. And all of this despite setting The Morning Gift against the bleak backdrop of Hitler's Anschluss of Austria and the coming of World War II. For although her characters may be bruised by the horror of the Nazi menace, they remain unbroken, their spirit indomitable. For within Ibbotson's world (colored by her ...more
Aug 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 30, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  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
Charlotte May
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
So when I read this for the first time as a young teen I gave it 3 stars. Having now returned to it in my twenties I've lowered it to 2 - because I just didn't like a single character!
I didn't think it was possible to have no feeling for any character in a book, particularly one based during the war but I just couldn't stand them! You have the main character Ruth who just seems naive, over the top, and despite being described as odd she has men falling all over her!
Then there's her fiancé who
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 ...more
Jan 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone who's looking for a fun sparkling romance
Shelves: genre-na-ya
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.
Silver Petticoat

Review by Bailey Cavender

Overall Rating = 5; Romance Rating = 5

I think that the way Ibbotson writes the romance is masterful, mostly because the reader can tell that Ruth and Quin are falling for each other, but we can also tell that they’re not aware of the fact yet. To me, this makes the story more compelling. As they find themselves happy or annoyed, without knowing why the reader waits to see how long it
Charnell (Reviews from a Bookworm)
I did not know what to expect from Eva Ibbotson's books. I had seen them a lot whilst working in libraries, but had never picked them up and did not know anything about the author herself. I had assumed she was a young writer, not a woman who died in 2010, at the age of eighty-five, with such a rich history behind her. Having now finished five of her books, I can now say that I completely understand why she is an author who is held in such high regard. She weaves history and romance together so ...more
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
Lauren James
This is such a wonderfully indulgent, comforting read. This is what a romance novel should feel like. Plus - female scientists! Hurrah!
Christina Morland
This was a second read for me, and I enjoyed the book even more this time -- probably because I slowed down and read this as a hopeful novel about love in wartime -- all kinds of love, not just romantic love.

Yes, the romance between Ruth Berger and Quin Sommerville is appealing. I adored the understated way Ibbotson develops their romance; the more she left unsaid, the more romantic tension she built. But there are aspects of the romance that are a little silly, and Ruth acts melodramatically
Hana (linh_hermione)
Standard Eva Ibbotson fare and mostly fine-ish (if a bit instalove-y) until page 435, at which point her typical misunderstandings-that-could-be-resolved-very-easily-with-a-simple-conversation just got too ridiculous to take even slightly seriously
Cute romance story. I really didn't expect myself to enjoy it but I ended up finishing it in one night.
Oct 06, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 01, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, 2008, historical
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
Jake Rideout
Jul 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Kate Quinn
May 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Leita Lyn
Aug 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Nov 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 :)
Oct 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.75 stars.

This book is a lover of nature, science, music, dedication and belonging.

What makes a book so beautiful is the writing, and what adds to that is pacing. I thoroughly enjoyed this book for its rich details yet fast pace that had me flipping pages faster than ever.

I think this book acts as a wonderful gem, it is a love story yet the love that we see is slow and truly mesmerizing due to the characters being so infatuated yet not realizing it. Witty, charming and surprisingly funny, Ruth

This is my least favourite of the Ibbotson's I've read, unfortunately. I think the set up is really interesting: Ruth gets stranded in Vienna, and, as the daughter of a Jew, is unable to leave, and so risks being caught and sent to a concentration camp. Then Quin, a former associate of her father's, offers her a way out in the form of a morganatic marriage, which they plan to annul once Ruth is safe in England. Parts of this worked for me, but, as a whole, it's not as strong as some of
Julie Reynolds
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Took me a bit longer than usual as didn’t have much reading time in run in to December. However, I found this book enchanting. I had assumed it was an adult book but it’s actually aimed at teen +. Good sound historical background on which to weave Ruth’s story. All in all a great read and am researching more of the author’s books ...more
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
This was a reread for me, as I loved this author when I was younger. However, I was not so in love with this book this time around. There were a few things that I had problems with, Ruth and Quin’s lack of ability to communicate being the main one.

Jan 19, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I stole this from my sister while she is gone (thanks!). 5 stars for Eva's writing, 3 stars for the plot. Not my fav but still hilarious with amazing characters, both main and side.
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Young Adult Histo...: The Morning Gift by Eva Ibbotson 6 37 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.

She was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1925. When Hitler came into power, her 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 education in 1965.
“I want to live like music sounds."- Ruth” 68 likes
“One must not judge other cultures by the standars of one's one,' said Aunt Hilda” 27 likes
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