Friday, 13 May 2011

The Morning Gift - Eva Ibbotson

First. *Sorry* this review and reading took soooo long to do. This book is 500 pages long and well, I have had limited time for reading in the lead up to my exams so...not my priority right now.
   Since discovering Eva Ibbotson last year, I had a book sess over Christmas and my birthday where I asked for her 5 other book as part of presents to get for me. So, I have the whole collection of Eva Ibbotson books....I am truly obsessed with her writing. I thought her writing was amazing and couldn't get any better, however, I was slightly disappointed by this book.

Synopsis: Twenty-year-old Ruth Berger is desperate. The daughter of a Jewish-Austrian professor, she was supposed to have escaped Vienna before the Nazis marched into the city. Yet the plan went completely wrong, and while her family and fiancĂ© are waiting for her in safety, Ruth is stuck in Vienna with no way to escape. Then she encounters her father’s younger college professor, the dashing British paleontologist Quin Sommerville. Together, they strike a bargain: a marriage of convenience, to be annulled as soon as they return to safety. But dissolving the marriage proves to be more difficult than either of them thought—not the least because of the undeniable attraction Quin and Ruth share. To make matters worse, Ruth is enrolled in Quin’s university, in his very classes and it becomes even harder to make sure their secret is safe.

Review: I don't quite know what to say. For starters, this is a long book. Okay, so 500 pages which is fine for me to read, I don't have some kind of unavaliablity to read above 300 pages but this book seemed this long. It seemed to go on and on for a while, and yes, I understand that this is spread over about 4 years but was just too long for me and there were descriptions and scenes that didn't need to be there.
   I just didn't like Quin. He got on my nerves and he's so selfish and annoying. But then the next minute, he's not and helping Ruth get out the country. Also, he is about thirty. But Ibbotson made him seem much much younger, like in his early 20's. Which is fine but to me....he didn't seem THAT old.

I love Eva Ibbotson's writing and she makes it very mature but there were words that I think even my English teacher will be confused about and for me, it was just too...too much for such a sweet story. Ah....the story. The story was interesting and sweet in parts but to be honest, there was no real love between Quin and Ruth, either on their wedding or afterwards. It just kind of happened. And then, that was it for the rest of the book. There was no lead up. No hints or feelings shown by Ruth. It was just a little bit unrealistic for me.
   In addition, the characters were all really well written and completely different from each other and original but there was SO MANY. The only ones that I could truly remember was the ones at the university. I became confused by the minor characters and asking myself who was who and why they were in England.
My other bewilderment was the revelance of the title with what happens in the book. Ruth and Quin do talk about what a morning gift is (it's a gift that the husband gives a wife after their wedding night to show that they were truly man and wife and she was a virgin. Another word is 'dower') and one does appear but that's it. The ending and the drawing together of them has nothing to do with it and in all honesty, the title didn't really fit at all.

ENOUGH NEGATIVES! The characters were amazing. I personally loved Ruth, Pilly, Sam and Janet and loathed Heini and Verena (although I started off liking her). Eva Ibbotson has successfully done it again by both having the reader know things before the characters and, the characters knowing things for chapters before it is revealed to the reader themselves, and making the dedicated readers want to know desperately! This is one of the things I love about her writing.
There are some really interesing, engaging, well-written parts that she should be commendented for and some really good descriptive writing which helped me get an idea for my exam next week where I have to 'Write to Describe'. These are the classic Eva Ibbotson styles I recongised and loved more dearly.

I feel bad to have this much wrong with a book by my favourite author but I just truly did not enjoy it and appreciate it as much as the others I have read by here and the story and book as a whole promised so much more that it overall achieved. If you're a 'Eva Ibbotson virgin' then, I would start with 'The Secret Countess'. This book has some high and low points but overall, it's not my cup of tea.

I give it a 3 out of 5

Author's Website:
Pages: 506
Publisher: Penguin
Challenges: Historical & British Books Challenges


  1. Hey, you shouldn't feel bad that you didn't like this book as much. I like lots of authors but don't like all their books. Good review. I've actually not heard of this author but i'll take a look now.

  2. Oh thank you, yeah I know I shouldn't but well, Eva Ibbotson sadly died and I feel bad for not liking her books. I know she or I can't help it.

    Yeah you should, she is normally a good one but I guess most authors have that book that isn't as good as their others :)
    Try 'A Song For Summer' or 'The Secret Countess' :)

  3. hey :)
    i love eva ibbotson's writing and it has affected me so much!this is actually one of my favourite books by her,i dont like magic flutes and company of swans as much as the others though
    i've written about her here

  4. I do love her writing too.
    I have only read The Secret Countess, this one and A Song for Summer and out of those 3, this wasn't the best.
    Like I said in the review, I loved some bits and didn't for others.
    Oh really? okay, well I'm going to hopefully read them soon so keep checking for a review for those, probably over the summer some time
    Okay, I'll check it out and thanks for commenting :)

  5. liked the review... but i don't agree with all your points. i loooooooved this book... and am looking forward to reading the Company of Swans!

  6. Wow... that was a wonderful book... love, friendship, adventure... i loved it! Which other books would you recommend i should read by EI???

  7. Anonymous: I think people have different views about everyone's novels depending on what they like and don't like. I loved The Secret Countess by this author but other bloggers don't. Thanks anyway, yeah I have a copy of that which hopefully I'll read this year.

    Sophia: I'm glad you enjoyed it :) My favourite of Ibbotson is The Secret Countess and A Song For Summer, so I would recommend those next :)

  8. a song for summer sounds really great, i'll make sure to read it next!


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