1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Lovely, but reminiscent of A Company of Swans,
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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.