The Secret CountessAges 12+
As WWI draws to a close, a love affair that stretches across countries, families and class begins, in master storyteller Eva Ibbotson's classic historical romance The Secret Countess, with an introduction from Amanda Craig.
Anna Grazinsky, a young Russian countess, has lived in the glittering city of St Petersburg all her life in an ice-blue palace overlooking the River Neva. But when revolution tears Russia apart, her now-penniless family is forced to flee to England. Armed with an out-of-date book on housekeeping, Anna determines to help her family in any way possible, and she is soon hired as a housemaid at the Earl of Westerholme's crumbling but magnificent mansion.
Then Rupert, the young Earl, returns home from the war and is fascinated by his new housemaid, and the more time they spend together the more they feel inexplicably drawn together. But they can never be together; Rupert is already engaged and Anna is only a servant . . .
'I have binged on Eva Ibbotson . . . her elegantly written, witty and well-observed fables' – Nigella Lawson, The Times
Rediscover Eva Ibbotson, award-winning author of Journey to the River Sea, in her sweeping historical romances, including The Morning Gift, A Song For Summer and The Secret Countess, originally published as A Countess Below Stairs.
A comfortingly old fashioned tale of hidden identity and love.
This year (thanks to a recommendation by Ella Risbridger on Instagram, of all places) I have binged on Eva Ibbotson, not her children’s books, but her elegantly written, witty and well-observed if (after a few) formulaic fables of emigrées with beautiful burnished hair fallen on hard times. I read one after another, and rather feel your Christmas might be brightened by doing the same. So may I suggest A Song for Summer, followed by The Morning Gift, then The Secret Countess, A Company of Swans, Magic Flutes, Journey to the River Sea, and The Star of Kazan.
Nigella Lawson, The Sunday Times
Sheer bliss from start to finish