Customer Review

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not her best, 3 Aug 2008
This review is from: A Song for Summer (Paperback)
I am a huge Eva Ibbotson fan, but I have to admit that I was a bit disapointed by A Song For Summer. It's definitely not as good as The Secret Countess or The Morning Gift.

I can't really explain why. It's expertly written (her style is very like Jane Austen's) and there is a huge range of hilarious supporting characters, including an operatic diva, an aspiring young musician and a tortoise on wheels (I kid you not). But it doesn't seem to quite hang together.

The hero and heroine aren't very exciting. Ellen is good and kind and fairly boring. Marek is just your typical 'dark and brooding' guy, descended from the likes of Mr Rochester and Heithcliffe. But that's it - he has no original qualities whatsoever. Apart from an amazing ability to make wheels for tortoises (?). Their relationship doesn't really make for exciting reading. As soon as you meet him, you know they're guaranteed to fall in love. Only a little predictable.

Despite this, it is very funny in some places (the operatic diva and the nutty artsy school are hilarious) and is worth reading once. But if you've read The Secret Countess or The Morning Gift, don't expect to be surprised.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 27 Dec 2008 18:16:20 GMT
jess says:
Really? I loved this book. I think that the heroine is not boring at all. She has that magic ability to bring people together, to inspire them and to make things beautiful.

This 'magic' quality is hard to convey in words. I think that Eva Ibbotson tries to capture it in her books and I think that she manages it better than any other writer I have come across. The thing is that this 'magic' is that it is in everyone. Ellen is open enough and unselfconcious enough to let this magic come out.

Posted on 5 Jan 2010 20:33:52 GMT
Morena says:
I feel the same way. I couldn't really warm to Ellen or Marek. On paper, I could see they were a good match - both people who fix life's problems and all that - and I could see that Eva Ibbotson was a good writer, but I admit I still had to drag myself through parts of the book. It was my first Eva Ibbotson book and I wasn't in a hurry to read The Secret Countess, which I'd bought at the same time - but I finally read it this week and loved it. The Secret Countess hung together better and I found the main characters more charismatic. It's a keeper, while A Song For Summer will probably make its way to the charity shop soon or be passed on to a friend. I'm glad I'm not the only one to feel that way!
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