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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars enchanting emigre romance, 6 Jun 2006
By 
A. Craig "Amanda Craig" (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Morning Gift (Paperback)
The morning gift is a present sent from groom to bride in a morganatic (ie unconsummated) marriage of convenience. This is what Ruth, the Jewish heroine, consents to in order to share Quin's British passport and be whisked away from Nazi Vienna to rejoin her family in London. Eccentric, strong-minded and academic like all her family, Ruth is in love with a gifted pianist, Heini, who is more concerned with his art. Quin, a brilliant Professor of paleontology, falls in love with Ruth but even when she becomes his student she fails to see this, leaving him prey to the appalling Verena, a rigidly conventional girl from the same upper class Northumbrian background as his own.

Readers who enjoy conventional romance will have no difficulty in deducing that everything turns out happily in the end, but with Ibbotson as with Austen what is so captivating is not her plotting but her wit, her gift for character and her insights. Emigre life in Belsize Park during the late 1930s is a brilliant comic subject, not least because so many of the Jews who fled Hitler were not brought up in the faith and met rabbis as bewildered as gentiles. The sadness of the survivors, who know all too well what is happening in Germany and Austria even if their hosts refuse to see it, creates a dark background against which the happiness of the good feels hard-won. Ruth is Ibbotson's most touching heroine (alongside that of A Song For Summer and COmpany of Swans) and she continues to appeal to teenagers even today. This novel is now as rare as hens' teeth, but it will be reprinted in 2008 if you can bear to wait that long.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusually Amazing, 22 Jun 2002
By 
K. B. Rugen (Redditch/Liverpool, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Morning Gift (Paperback)
I read this book in English but was utterly surprised. When I picked it up I did not expect it to hold much, but that all goes to show that you should never judge a book by its cover. Eva Ibbotson's characters are so vivid that it is hard to believe they are fictional. Her writing draws you into the world she describes and makes you unwilling to leave. In fact, immediately after finishing the book, I began it again; the first time I have ever done this. The plot is not as straightforward as one might expect, just when you think you know what will happen next there is an unexpected twist. I was enchanted with the book and almost afraid to try any of Ibbotson's other works, in case they didn't hold the same magic. However I have now changed my mind, as this book is not a fluke, anyone who can write like this has a real talent.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have read., 20 July 2008
By 
Jayne Smith "Immy, Jayne's Daughter." (Worcester, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Morning Gift (Paperback)
I have read nearly all of Eva Ibbotsons books for teenagers, and i have to say this is one of my favorites. Though this book is one of the longest she has written, and the most sophisticated, the way she captures the characters feelings is pure genius. She has created such detailed, very clever characters, and the innocence and purity of the main character Ruth.
This book is not for a quiet read, something that you will pick up, and just read a few pages before putting it down and not reading it for a while, it is a long books, that has had a lot of research put into it, and needs alot of thinking about. However, it is well worth the read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Read, 1 Aug 2009
By 
Book Gannet (Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Morning Gift (Paperback)
Vienna, 1938, and the Nazis have invaded, persecuting and driving out the Jewish population. Due to unforeseen circumstances Ruth Berger is left behind when her family flees to England, and now she can't leave.

Until Quin Somerville, a former student of Ruth's father and in Vienna to receive an honorary degree, finds her and promises to get her out. Even if their only choice is marriage. It doesn't mean anything, and they'll dissolve it as soon as they reach England, leaving Ruth free to marry her beloved Heini, and Quin just free.

At least that's the plan. Except such marriages aren't easily put aside - and the longer it takes to break, the more they're left to wonder whether they still want to.

Once again Ibbotson presents a beautiful love story set amidst the melancholy, forgotten world of interwar Europe. Ruth is a glorious heroine, filled with an infectious zest for life, and consuming passion for both music and zoology. And she's likeable. Quin is a level-headed hero with a clear sense of duty, desperately in need of Ruth's bright love of life.

In true Ibbotson style there's a cast of wonderful characters - from the displaced refugees, to Ruth's fellow students - and a smattering of selfish and nastily intentioned others helping to sow confusion and misery. The path to true love is never smooth, and this is one of Ibbotson's darker tales, but the light spots are even brighter for it. The first time Ruth truly sees the North Sea is just one of them.

Amongst the academics and brooding troubles of the approaching war, this is a story not only of romantic love, but passion for life and the importance of all levels of acceptance. My favourite of Eva Ibbotson's romances - it's just gorgeous.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Outstanding, 25 Jan 2011
By 
M. Glenfield (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Morning Gift (Paperback)
Let's just clarify that I have never in my life been to Vienna, have only been to London once when I was eight, and I wouldn't know a famous painting if it hit me in the face. Saying this, I can not praise Eva Ibbotson enough for all of her books, not just The Morning Gift.
I was actually looking for different books a few years ago when I received this and The Secret Countess for Christmas; I'd previously lifted them up several times in my local Waterstones, but always put it down because I was never one hundred percent sure I'd like them (saying that, I did the same for Twilight numerous times, and I finished the series for the 5th time not long ago). So I was dubious, there's no doubt - but after finishing The Secret Countess, I couldn't pick The Morning Gift up quickly enough.
The book focuses on Ruth and Quin: Ruth is a extraordinary intelligence venetian with the looks of a milk maid, and Quin the heart-breaking professor determined to get her to England to her family. To do this, he concocts the idea of a marriage which he would consummate when they reached England. Things do not go as planned as Ruth begins to experience unexpected feelings for Quin, and things start to not go as they planned.
There is reference upon reference in this book, concerning architecture and marine biology, not to mention the classical poets and writers Eva is so fond of. Even though I couldn't picture half the places she talks, the emotional impact I've felt from her book mean I've turned to them whenever I have the chance; even now I'm re-reading The Morning Gift as we speak.
This book is ideal for everyone, especially those who love the moments when your toes curl up and your eyes can't take in the page fast enough; this book is perfect for you.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book!, 27 Feb 2009
By 
J. Hillyard (Darlington, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Morning Gift (Paperback)
This book stayed in my memory long after I had finished it. A poignant subject, beautifully written. It is definitely for older teenagers and adults though.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Book!, 16 July 2008
By 
A. Bishop "footloose_lou" (Brighton, U.K) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Morning Gift (Paperback)
I've read all of Eva Ibbotson's books for older readers and have loved all of them!

This tells the story of Ruth, who lives in Vienna with her family, but when the Nazis invade her family flee accidently leaving Ruth behind. A family friend, Quin, offers her an escape through a marriage of conveinence to be dissolved when they reach England. However cirrcumstances throw them together once more and they realise there feelings for each other.

Ibbotson's details in her novels really set them apart and each character is so full of life. I thoroughly recommend this!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourtie book, 24 April 2010
This review is from: The Morning Gift (Paperback)
I read a LOT! Every evening before i go to sleep as i find it helps me to relax, although i read a lot I rarely find a book i truly love; this is a mighty exception... Written beautfully, and full of feeling and love this book is truly amazing, I'm currently reading if fir the second time and LOVE it!
It's also historically accurate...
A book for older teenagers or adults
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely, but reminiscent of A Company of Swans, 16 Jan 2010
By 
Doha (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Morning Gift (Paperback)
I just finished this book last night, and like Ibbotson's other books, it was just lovely: there is a sense of fairytale etherea in the peri-WW2 setting. I have a personal irritation against 'war fiction', particularly WW2, but Ibbotson never writes war intrusively. It is also her particular skill to write heroines untouched by the worse vagaries of people. That isn't to say they are naive or innocent - on the contrary, they are intelligent, strong women - but they carry a kind of purity, too. It is written, too, in a lyrical moment-by-moment style, which is detail-rich, making you feel like you intimately know each setting, each vignette: the Bergers and their guests on Grundlsee yelling 'Wunderbar', Ruth leaning over Heini at the piano, Ruth when she is found by Quin in Vienna, Ruth telling Quin the story of Mishak and Marianne...all the way to the end, the story presents itself to you in snapshots - it tells itself, you don't really read it. The most vivid scene to me was Ruth, that first morning, on the beach at Bowmont...it wasn't Ruth, it was ME, and I felt like I owned the whole world. So beautiful.

I picked it up again this morning to re-read the ending, and fell in love with it over again.

The only criticism I have to make - and it's not really a criticism as a remark - is that Ruth and Quin become a little confused with Harriet and Rom of A Company of Swans, in my mind. The stories are not at all the same, but the atmosphere and sense of characters does blur a great deal, and I have to work to keep them separate in my mind.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's enough to make you fall in love..., 16 Nov 2009
By 
Miss Leola (York, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Morning Gift (Paperback)
The Morning Gift is yet another loveable and heart-warming novel by Eve Ibbotson. This classic historical love story instantly brings a smile to your face and sets your mind wondering. Of course, like all of Ibbotson's novels for older readers, there is beautiful Jane Austen quality to her writing but with a new sparkle.

When the Nazis invade, Ruth's family flee to London but she is unexpectedly left behind. She is found by a family friend, the young handsome professor, Quin. He offers her a marriage of convenience but as they settle into London life, things become complicated with university, love and the arrival of Ruth's fiancé Heini.

A well thought out story and a few surprising moments, means that this is never a boring read. It is well paced, with wonderful characters and makes you an empathetic reader. As always, just when things start looking up, frustratingly they fall apart. It had me speeding to the end because - even though you know it will all end well - you just have to find out for yourself.

I used to only read adventure stories but after picking up my first Eva Ibbotson story, The Secret Countess, I've never looked back. I have discovered a new and better genre: love. And I do love a happy ending.
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The Morning Gift
The Morning Gift by Eva Ibbotson
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