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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous.
I have just finished reading this book and am so overcome by how engrossing and enjoyable it is that I'm moved to review it here, or at least offer a few burbling words of approval.

Taking place in a quiet square in Vienna, 1911, this is a masterpiece of character development and a celebration of small victories and every day goings-on. Early on, the narrator...
Published on 1 Nov 2012 by A. Lamont

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable escape to turn-of-(last)- century Vienna
An easy read. My first experience of a Kindle novel, and I don't read many books of this genre either, so, a doubly novel (sorry!) experience. Undemanding, but kept me reading over the weekend. It will take you to a different world: pre-WW1 Vienna, hints of contemporary political events and of what is approaching, touches of a demi-monde, the Viennese music scene, a...
Published on 25 Nov 2012 by Sheila Lam


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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous., 1 Nov 2012
By 
A. Lamont (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Madensky Square (Bello) (Kindle Edition)
I have just finished reading this book and am so overcome by how engrossing and enjoyable it is that I'm moved to review it here, or at least offer a few burbling words of approval.

Taking place in a quiet square in Vienna, 1911, this is a masterpiece of character development and a celebration of small victories and every day goings-on. Early on, the narrator says that it is she is writing to allow an unknown reader to know precisely what it is like to be in at 'Susanne's, the dress-maker's shop around which the story is woven. This objective is precisely met, and you are carried with Susanne through perfectly presented chores, trials, victories, grievances and merriment, held in a cast of developed characters with whom you cannot help but sympathise (or begrudge, in the occasional case). It is not a book of action, but not of maudlin sentimentalism either. It is a quiet escape into a perfectly thrilling mundane existence. I can't recommend it enough.

And now I'm off to go and find anything (everything!) else by the same author.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book to Savour and Return to, 17 Aug 2012
By 
M. A. Topping "anjitopping" (Cheshire UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Madensky Square (Bello) (Kindle Edition)
I am a fan of Eva Ibbotson's work and was saddened by her death because it meant there would be no more of her heartwarming but unsentimental books to discover. I was delighted when I found this, and am grateful to Bello for bringing it back into availability, and on kindle too!
I've just finished it and found it every bit as life-affirming as her other books. As the other reviewers say, it is a little different to them, with its more mature heroine, but there is still plenty of romance and delightful twists and turns. Susannah, the heroine, is the sort of person we'd all love to know: she is kind, witty, charming and a great people-watcher.We love her all the more for her little foibles and her frankness about some of the customers who buy dresses from her.
The book also gives a fascinating portrait of pre-WW1 Vienne, with all its charm intact.
I recommend this book without hesitation and hope it converts more people to the sun-filled fiction of this wonderful author. As with many of her books, there is plenty of music throughout, in this case from a young boy who is a pianist prodigy. All the characters are wonderfully rounded, from the fervent Magdalena to the unpleasnt Frau Schultz, the man with seven daughters who needs a son to inherit his timberyard, and the anarchist Nini. I am already looking forward to re-reading this book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now, how do you describe a chocolate eclair?, 8 Nov 2012
By 
John Crawford (Bergamo, Italy) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Madensky Square (Bello) (Kindle Edition)
I fully agree with all the other reviewers: this book brings us a marvellous story marvellously told. The prose is elegant, sumptuous, appropriate for so good a tale.
Our narrator, Susanna, embroiders an intricate thread through the lives of countless and multifarious characters. Her personality, which emerges from her treatment of her neighbours, friends, acquaintances, enemies - and lover - embodies all the perfect traits: love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, fidelity, gentleness - and even self control.
I, too, finished the book in two and a half days. It's not one, I feel, to be read in a single sitting; the sequence of events is so rapid that you won't have time to fully savour one before the next drags your attention away. I found that a pause after each chapter gave time to catch up, to be not overwhelmed, to "take it all on board".
As another reviewer has pointed out, the ending is not "happily ever after". Not quite, but Susanna is wise enough to accept that a perfectly happy ending for others who she deeply loves can be good enough for her. Ibbotson has neatly woven all the loose threads of the narrative into a tidy closing, and you can put the book down knowing that Susanna, as all her friends, will be all right, and will have all she wants from life.

(Of the many reasons I love Kindle the ever present dictionary is among the most important. I love authors that use unusual words or usual words in an unusual context, words I thought I knew but... A quick-up look can add to one's appreciation of a word and understanding of a sentence or situation. And Ibbotson is one of these authors. I love the daily deal too; I'd have never known of Ibbotson otherwise. Thank you Kindle!)
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love Eva Ibbotson, but ...., 27 July 2010
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This review is from: Madensky Square (Paperback)
This is a lovely book, and as soon as I got it I managed to finish it with a day or two, despite having my sisters wedding, a part time nannying job, and a friend from Australia staying. It's charmingly written. It isn't however quite like her other books, the heroine is "more mature" and so I suppose the book loses that youthful feel. It also has a more deconstructed plot, the type that follows the course of the year, rather than sticking to events on pertinant to the main plot. But I think as long as your not expectinng something exactly similer to her other adult fiction, then you won't be at all disappointed. It still has the appeal of the Romantic setting, and beautifully drawn chatacters, and a heroine, that does capture the heart, so I would highly recomend this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable escape to turn-of-(last)- century Vienna, 25 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Madensky Square (Bello) (Kindle Edition)
An easy read. My first experience of a Kindle novel, and I don't read many books of this genre either, so, a doubly novel (sorry!) experience. Undemanding, but kept me reading over the weekend. It will take you to a different world: pre-WW1 Vienna, hints of contemporary political events and of what is approaching, touches of a demi-monde, the Viennese music scene, a likeable heroine, fashion, romance, friendships, humour and some not-quite-resolved heartbreak.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Beautiful, 15 Nov 2012
By 
Mrs. F. Spencer "frankie" (england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Madensky Square (Bello) (Kindle Edition)
I bought this on a whim as it was on offer (Kindle version). I wanted something to read when we went to visit the in-laws (not that they bore me, or anything!).
It didn't sound like much of a story from the blurb, but I don't like anything gruesome, scary or crime books and it was unusual for the deal of the day not to be one of these genres. The reviews were good, but I was doubtful it would capture me, and I thought it would be something I would struggle with.

However, within a page or two, I was intrigued by this book. Sometimes it takes me a while to get into a story, but I was instantly engrossed in this book. When I started it, I was awake until the early hours as I didn't want to put it down. I finished the book within a few days (no mean feat when you have a baby to look after!), and I enjoyed it so much.

It really touched me; the characters intrigued me and I wanted to know more. I have to say, I cried so much at parts of this book too - I don't think a book has ever made me weep before. But the part about the trip to Saltzburg and the doll...I am welling up now just thinking of it.

The story is told in an easy to read, compelling way; I identified with Susannah and through her easy narration I wanted to know more about the characters she encountered, yet I didn't feel cheated by this book in any way. I feel the author has told us exactly enough - not too much, not too little.

There's not much to criticise about this book. I did get a little confused about who was who at first. I felt a lot of her customers were introduced quite early on, and I did need to refer back once to double check who someone was. And there's a lot of German references that I couldn't be bothered looking up (because I read it in the wee small hours in bed, not being able to put it down otherwise I would have taken the time to look them up). But otherwise it was simply beautiful.

Gentle and compelling, with a wealth of colourful characters. I can't believe I enjoyed this style of book as it wouldn't be something I normally go for. But it was simply beautiful. I am looking forward to seeing what else the author has written and hoping it matches the standard of this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Madensky Square., 2 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Madensky Square (Bello) (Kindle Edition)
I enjoyed this book immensley. A lovely book, the herione was a trooper! So glad it had a happy ending!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable, 1 Jan 2013
By 
Ms. J. M. Parkes "J.P" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Madensky Square (Bello) (Kindle Edition)
This was the first time I'd read an Eva Ibbotson book and I really enjoyed it, her writing is very descriptive and atmospherice and I'm looking forward to reading more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unexpected pleasure, 31 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Madensky Square (Bello) (Kindle Edition)
I picked this up wanting something 'different' from the thrillers and mysteries I usually read. Different, it certainly was and quite enchanting, too.

It's the every-day story of city folk; a year in the life of the people who live and work in a small square in Vienna a hundred years ago, shortly before the Great War changed the life of everyone in Europe forever. No murders or major dramas, just the humdrum concerns of a group of neighbours as narrated by Susanna, a dressmaker with a shop in the square. We meet the neighbour who longs for a son to inherit the family business; the orphaned child with a flair for the piano and an uncle who forces him to practise to the point of exhaustion; mischievous choir boys and an eccentric countess.

There's romance, heartache, birth and death; posh frocks and politics. There's a city official with a Nasty Little Habit who wants to demolish the square for a road widening scheme. It's utterly absorbing, romantic without being soppy or maudlin and, before you've read very far, the characters feel like old friends. I couldn't stop reading but I didn't want it to end; I absolutely loved it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Viennese fancy!, 31 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Madensky Square (Bello) (Kindle Edition)
Picked because I was looking for an easy read and I soon discovered that Eva Ibbotson is a very good writer indeed. It's a view of early 20th century Viennese society that's very sympathetic to the kind of single women who could possibly be described as belonging to the demi-monde. Curiously, I've seen some reviews posted by online book groups deploring the fact that the heroine, a dressmaker, is a rich man's mistress! In fact, she's a resourceful, rather moral individual doing the best she can to survive in a very conventional and unequal society. The story is all the more bittersweet given its setting in pre-First War Vienna.

Please note that there are lots of descriptions of cakes, hence the title I chose for my review.
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Madensky Square (Bello)
Madensky Square (Bello) by Eva Ibbotson
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