Ruth's Reviews > The Morning Gift

The Morning Gift by Eva Ibbotson
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review

it was amazing
bookshelves: books-read-in-2018

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 own experiences fleeing Hitler and growing up displaced), love -- both familial and romantic -- triumphs.

Ibbotson has a wildly intelligent voice and a sly sense of humor that finds no subject relative to the heart and its passions off-limits. This is an unabashedly feeling book, with moments of laugh-out-loud humor liberally sprinkled throughout, relieving the moments of heartbreaking pathos. Reading this book was the literary equivalent of watching the film Cluny Brown. Ruth (good name, no?) is a delightful, passionate eccentric, though for a woman determined to live life writ large, she is stubbornly blind to the manner in which life post-Vienna is determined to rewrite her childhood fairytale dream of love with one far more passionate, with a man far more her equal, than her girlish imagination could fathom. And herein Ibbotson works her magic, for this is the rare tale that reclaims the marriage of convenience trope for me and makes it feel fresh and new (and funny).

While this is Ruth and Quin's tale (and Quin is the dishiest of heroes, an academic with an Indiana Jones-like flair!), Ibbotson positions their relationship as a symbol of the larger struggle faced by society as a whole at this time, Hitler's atrocities forced the world to confront long-held prejudices of class, religion, and ethnicity. I adore Ruth and Quin, but more than that I love that Ibbotson never loses sight of her quirky, colorful supporting players -- and in that sense, this novel is a snapshot of a bygone era on the cusp of change, a reminder that each generation's hope of leaving the world better than they found it is as timeless as the love of a parent for a child, or the unexpected joy of romance between a man and woman, discovered when they least expect it.

This is one of the smartest, most engaging -- and hopeful -- romances that I've read in ages. While I cannot believe this is my first Ibbotson novel, it certainly shall not be my last, and I am quite grateful this book came to me when it did.
6 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Morning Gift.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

February 5, 2018 – Started Reading
February 5, 2018 – Shelved
February 5, 2018 –
page 32
February 9, 2018 –
page 192
February 10, 2018 – Shelved as: books-read-in-2018
February 10, 2018 – Finished Reading

No comments have been added yet.