Sunday, 2 January 2011

A Song For Summer - Eva Ibbotson

This was found hidden behind a pile of books with Meg Rosoff written all over them in my school library. It was in lesson time so it was incredibly quiet as I was the only one in there. So I was also the only person to see my little jump of excitement once I saw the words 'Eva Ibbotson' on the book in fancy font. The copy in there had the American cover which I slightly prefer to the English one. But oh well. My love for all things Eva Ibbotson is back with a vengence.

Genre: Historical Romance
Ellen, an English eighteen year old just out of school with a Suffragette mother and aunts, starts at Hallendorf, a financally failing school near Vienna, Austria,  as a cook/nursemaid. Hallendorf is certainly different with its wild children and eccentric teachers that swim naked in the surrounding lake or pretend to be Russian ballerinas. Then, there's the tortoise on wheels. Hallendorf is certainly unusual. Until Ellen discover the intriguing handyman, Marek, and is instantly attracted to his kind and mysterious nature. Only once she discovered his true identity and his secret work, does she realise the extend to her love for him. But Hitler's Nazi Germany is already in danger of ruining the peaceful world of Hallendorf and Ellen and Marek must realise their feelings for one another during the shadow of war and the pasting bombs before it's too late...

My own synopisis of it. Partly from the blurb. Also, on the blurb, there is the slogan 'A love like no other...' It's definitely a love that faces many barriers throught this 397 page book.
I liked this book. However, at some points, there are parts that are slightly confusing or I didn't understand. For me, I can see how the title relates to the events and a character in the book, but they don't particuarly have anything much to do with Ellen herself. Though, the main events happen in summers. So maybe that was the idea behind it. Also, Ibbotson has a tendiency to mention someone before the reader actually knows who they are. Which in some ways is good as it keeps you reading and wanting to know who they are but I felt it was done more than necessary.
   Those are my only doubts on this novel. Apart from those, that I only thought of ever so often, I loved the storyline. The setting is so original and there are some definite original characters and plot twists in there. Eva Ibbotson, in general, was always surprising me and the plot twists were sometimes so unhinted that it just kind of suddenly happened and has you sitting there shocked. She also does this thing that I LOVE, where she jumps ahead of time to show something completely different in the future and then, goes back as if you're looking into the character's thoughts over what happened.
   The historical detail and the detail in general was also great and I could easily imagine that she wanted it to be like. Simply, I could not put this book down and I absolutely loved the characters and the way they are written in so much depth. The romance also relies on fate a lot - which is very different to many other books like this.
I would recommend this to anybody studing WWII before and during, it gives it a lot of detail. And it's nice how it focuses on Austria during WWII, normally it's just Britain or Germany - the main ones. It's nice to see another side to the war.
Anyway, overall, this was an enjoyable, relaxable read which I think most people who love the genre of historical romance will enjoy. Another amazing read by the fabulous Eva Ibbotson who I am gradually falling in love with.

I give it 4.5 out of 5

Eva Ibbotson doesn't have a website. However, when I looked her up on Google, I found out she actually in fact died on the 20th October 2010 at the age of 85. Even though she now isn't alive, I really love the books of hers that I've read so far and I think I shall be reading them for years to come. I can't believe I've just discovered them.


  1. I've never heard of this one! The cover is beautiful. I love a good historical novel. Thanks for spotlighting a hidden gem! :)

  2. Yeah Eva Ibbotson's book are all historical and all really good.
    It's okay. thanks :)

  3. I have never read a book by this author. I am glad you enjoyed this one. I'll have to keep an eye out for it. :)

  4. She is my favourite author :) And I too only recently discovered her death.. I just wrote about her on my blog.
    I loved Song for Summer but my first love was A Company of Swans... actually anything by her is wonderful... and yes, she can be read and re-read every time your heart is lonely.

  5. I still need to read A Company of Swans. I have it on my bookshelf, waiting for me at the moment. I take it, that it's good then :D

  6. I really like Eva Ibbotsan's books. My favourite was The Secret Countess!:D
    It was so sad that she died but at least she left still a favourite:)

  7. I love her books and think they would make the most amazing films, do you know if there are any plans for this?

  8. Yeah they would! Not that I know of but sadly, Eva Ibbotson died in October last year and because of that, one might be made into a movie. That would good :)


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