One of my absolute favorite YA novels is Eva Ibbotson’s A Countess Below Stairs. A few years ago, I picked up another one of her books hoping that I would enjoy it just as much. A started it several times, not being able to sink into the story. I listed it as an alternate title on my 2014 TBR list and after spotting it on Audible, I decided to give the audiobook a shot.
Let me first just say that I have a hard time with the title. This book, as well as A Countess Below Stairs, was re-released in 2009 from its original publication in 1982 with the title Magic Flutes. I think the original title fits the story better, but whatever – it is what it is!
Eva Ibbotson tells the story of Austrian heiress Princess Theresa-Maria of Pfaffenstein. With nothing to her name accept a castle that is far past its prime, this princess cheerfully hides her identity and secures a position as an under-wardrobe mistress for an opera company with its own financial struggles.
Completely unselfish and unwavering in her belief that everyone is equal, she throws herself into her work and her passion for music believing that it is the medium that will level the social playing field. Meanwhile, her broken-down old castle is purchased by self-made millionaire Guy Farne who has grand designs of his own. Only Guy’s plans center around re-capturing the heart of a woman from his past. When their paths cross, both Tessa’s and Guy’s respective worlds are flipped around and each is forced to evaluate what love means and what they truly want in life.
This book definitely charming and has its clever moments just as I expect from Ibbotson. However, I wouldn’t put it up their with A Countess Below Stairs though. I don’t know but there wasn’t the same level of dignity in this book. And while Tessa is very sweet and likable, I didn’t warm up to the other characters very much.
I think, perhaps, I’ll give the audio another shot in the future. Distant future….lol.
I’m glad I finally got through this read and I can cross it off my TBR list and add it to my Audio Book Challenge for this year! Two birds, one stone. Yeah, baby!
Hope y’all are having a great week so far!