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By Singing Light

Pretty much everything here originally appeared at my actual blog: By Singing Light. I particularly focus on upper middle-grade and young adult books. I also enjoy adult genre books, especially speculative fiction.

Currently reading

The Lost Tools of Learning and the Mind of the Maker
Dorothy L. Sayers
The Seventh Bride
T. Kingfisher
Hope in the Dark
Rebecca Solnit
Outrun the Moon
Stacey Lee
Midnight Thief
Livia Blackburne
The White Hart
Nancy Springer
The Great Wall Of Lucy Wu
Wendy Wan-Long Shang
Jim C. Hines
Elizabeth & Leicester: Power, Passion, Politics
Sarah Gristwood
The Star of Kazan - Eva Ibbotson, Kevin Hawkes by Eva Ibbotson

Opening line: “Ellie had gone into the church because of her feet.”

When Ellie goes into the church, she discovers a baby left behind by its mother. The baby is named Annika and taken back to Vienna, where she grows up in the house of three professorial siblings.

It’s a charming story, with any number of sweet and funny characters. In several places I was reminded of Noel Streatfeild–it has very much that sort of sweet-but-not-sugary sensibility. The plot itself seemed similar in some places to A Company of Swans, except that here it comes across in a very different way.

Compared with Countess Below Stairs or A Company of Swans it’s definitely for younger audiences. And yet, I think that there’s nothing to prevent a teen or adult from enjoying it as well. Certainly, Ibbotson is a good enough writer to avoid any sloppiness, no matter what her audience.

As with all of Ibbotson’s books, there’s a great sense of the place and time here. Pre-war Vienna is shown in all its glory, complete with Emperor and Lipizzaners, marvellous cooks and parks.

Book source: public library
Book information: Dutton Children’s Books, 2004; grades 5-8

1. A Company of Swans
2. A Countess Below Stairs