I’m counting this toward the Audiobook Challenge even though it’s a total cheat because I’ve listened to this book at least one-hundred times, including a happy run-through this year. This review is a bit of a cheat as well since it’s just an abridged version of the review I did on Tumblr in 2010.
Whatever, I’m going for it anyhow!
I discovered this book years ago on accident at the library (isn’t that how so many of our favorites are discovered?). The audiobook was read by Davina Porter, one of my favorite narrators. Her performance of this book is beautiful!
Eva Ibbotson tells the story of a Russian countess who must keep her identity hidden after her family loses everything during the Russian Revolution. Finding herself practically penniless in England, she manages to secure a job as a housemaid for an Englishman’s estate. Utterly out of her realm, Anna, armed with a copy of Selina Strickland’s The Domestic Servant’s Compendium, is, nevertheless, determined to work hard for her boss, the new Earl of Westerholme, who is just returning home from fighting in the Great War. With her zest for life, her willingness to please, her selfless heart, and genuine interest in the lives of others, Anna Grazinsky soon captures the hearts of the inhabitants of Mersham, including that of Lord Westerholme himself who is in the midst of preparing for his marriage to the golden-haired, blue-eyed goddess, Muriel Hardwick.
I looooove this story! If you’re looking for a romantic comedy, this is it! It’s completely fast-paced, witty, honest, dignified, vivid and charming. Ibbotson spun a tale of honor, duty, and loyalty, as well as pure, unadulterated love and I definitely put it up there in my top 5 favorite YA novels.
All the girls had bobbed curtsies as he passed, but Rupert was about to encounter for the first time this weapon of social intercourse in Anna Grazinsky’s hands. One arm flew gracefully outward and up like an ascending dove, her right foot, elegantly flexed, drew a wide arc on the rich carpet-and she sank slowly, deeply and utterly to the ground…here was homage made flesh; here, between the bust of an obese Roman emperor and a small, potted palm, Rupert, Seventh Earl of Westerholme, was being offered commitment, servitude, another human being’s all.
Reading the hard copy is great but if you can, get the audiobook read by Davina Porter. It’s a delightful listen!
Y’all stay blessed :)