The Reluctant Heiress

The Reluctant Heiress

Book - 2009
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In 1920s Austria, no one in the Viennese opera company knows that their wardrobe mistress Tessa is really a princess. But when the dashing self-made millionaire Guy Farne arrives at the opera, Tessa realizes that there may be more to life--and love--than just music.
Publisher: New York : Puffin Books, 2009
ISBN: 9780142412770
0142412775
Branch Call Number: YA FICTION IBBOT...E
Characteristics: 325, 33 pages ; 21 cm
Notes: Previously published: Magic flutes. New York : St. Martin's Press, 1982

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m
miaxw
Jul 19, 2016

I usually steer far clear of romance novels, but when I picked up this book I was pleased with the well-developed characters and excellent language. Still, the story was a bit slow and tame for my taste. Not a lot of action.

m
marthabwaters
Apr 19, 2016

While I think that Ibbotson's publisher's attempts to re-brand her old adult romantic historical fiction as YA is laughable (there's nothing remotely objectionable here, but that still doesn't mean its target audience is teens), I really enjoyed this. Her descriptions of 1920s Austria were so vivid and immersive that I felt like I was there, and while fans of traditional romance will likely be frustrated by how little time the two main characters actually spend on page together (hence my reluctance to classify this a romance), there are so many lovely supporting characters, and the whole world is just beautifully described and makes for a very cozy read. Not a page-turner, really, but there will certainly be readers like myself who find this book lovely.

l
lalunaunita
Sep 20, 2012

I picked up this novel as part of an effort to broaden the genres I read (I've never read anything that could be counted as either historical or romantic, so to combine the two seemed a good idea). The plot of this book is formulaic, but what really distinguishes the book is the fresh, energetic and sometimes humorous style of Eva Ibbotson. Her vocabulary is precise and imaginative and her prose style is quick-witted and fun. Both Guy and Tessa, the main characters, appear to be people who can do anything they put their minds to (they take this shared ability to completely different places/careers in their lives).

Ibbotson's descriptions of 1920s Vienna and Pfaffenstein are enchanting. Rather than trotting us up to the locations and explaining "there's a courtyard here and a gateway there", she takes the time to share with us the formulation of these places throughout history, sort of like starting at the center of these multi-century architectural triumphs and growing outward until we have a complete and complex view of the locations. This helps the reader to understand the love the characters have for their homes and country. It also impresses upon us an understanding of the weight of European nobility and familial history that falls on the shoulders of our main character Tessa. By turns, it is easy to see why she both rebels against the stodgy aristocracy of her upbringing and grows sentimental at the prospect of losing her childhood home.

Ibbotson's breezy prose style also accomplishes the difficult task of bringing life to even the most minor characters. Tessa's coworkers in the opera company are both hilarious and sympathetic as they struggle to do even the most minor tasks without the everpresent Tessa at their sides (she usually shows up within 2-3 seconds to help out, but in those agonizing seconds, Ibbotson reveals just how devoted to and dependent upon Tessa the opera company is).

Overall, this book is a pleasure to read. I have a feeling I can guess the ending, but Ibbotson has set it up so that I'll be laughing and crying right along with the characters as they hurtle on to their inevitable destinies.

s
sunshineagain
Mar 20, 2012

I enjoyed other novels by Ibbotson so I thought I'd try the romances. This one was predictable and tiresome.

Deunan Sep 29, 2011

I only knew of Ibbotson as a children's author before I came across this, but I'm really enjoying it. It's a delightful piece of historical fiction set in Vienna shortly after the First World War, a charming, character-driven love story that ends up being a vibrant portrait of a time and place.

d
DLY1
Jul 04, 2011

I think I love evry book Eva Ibbotson ever wrote,but especially her books for adults. In this book, set in Austria post-world war 1,an Austrian princess who does not like her privileged life hides in Vienna working at an opera company.But when the opera company is asked to perfrom at the castle she owns.
This is a gorgeosly written,gentle love story.

j
justvishnu
Feb 09, 2011

This book surprised me with its depth and meat. This story belongs to an orphan (our hero) who has made it in the world and a down on her luck princess in disguise (our heroine) who works as an assistant wardrobe clerk. The story is set in the early 1900's when the world was changing and monarchy/aristocracy everywhere was crumbling. The attention to detail given by the author makes it an amazing read.

m
misje0607
Jul 28, 2010

as with anything by Eva Ibbotson you can expect a fairytale romance that will keep you glued to the pages until the book is done and then you will want to read it again

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white_fox_122 Mar 29, 2014

white_fox_122 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

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justvishnu
Feb 09, 2011

justvishnu thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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