Customer Reviews for

A Countess Below Stairs

Average Rating 4
( 145 )
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5 Star

(82)

4 Star

(28)

3 Star

(20)

2 Star

(9)

1 Star

(6)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Reviewed by Amber Gibson for TeensReadToo.com

Anna Grazinsky is a member of the Russian aristocracy, or White Russians, during the Russian Revolution. Her family is forced to flee from their comfortable life in Russia to England, where they are safe from the revolutionaries. But in England, the Grazinskys are left ...
Anna Grazinsky is a member of the Russian aristocracy, or White Russians, during the Russian Revolution. Her family is forced to flee from their comfortable life in Russia to England, where they are safe from the revolutionaries. But in England, the Grazinskys are left with nothing. Anna has a very resilient spirit, and instead of moping around and wishing for her old life, she is grateful for the safety of her family and secretly takes a job as a maid so that her little brother can still attend school. With her take-charge attitude, Anna proves that not all rich girls are snobby brats, like modern heiresses lead us to believe.

While many of the servants at the Westerholme residence are skeptical of the new foreign girl, Anna quickly charms her way into their hearts. With her deep curtsies, bright smile, and cheerful demeanor, Anna is beloved by all. She does each task assigned to her as best she can, never slacking on the job.

When the young and handsome Earl of Westerholme returns home from World War I, Anna is immediately drawn to him. And it seems that he feels a similar attraction to her. But Anna's identity as a countess is still a secret, and she does not have the social standing that she once held in Russia. Plus, the Earl is already engaged to the beautiful but vicious Muriel Hardwicke. Muriel nursed Earl Rupert back to health when he was wounded in the war, and he proposed to her. But that was before he met Anna.

In the weeks leading up to the wedding, Muriel begins to take over the Westerholme household, arbitrarily firing servants that do not fit in with her vision for Westerholme. None of the servants or neighbors are fond of Muriel, and as the wedding date approaches, all of Rupert's friends and family are leery of the impending marriage.

At the costume ball thrown prior to the wedding, Anna's true identity as a countess is revealed, and Anna and Rupert dance the night away. Everyone can see that they are a perfect couple, but can Rupert and Anna come to terms with their feelings for each other before his marriage to Muriel?

Although A COUNTESS BELOW STAIRS has a very fairytale-like romantic plot, Anna is far from the typical princess. She has a feisty spirit and genuinely fun personality that immediately draws you in. Eva Ibbotson does a great job in breathing life into the generic fairytale plot. Anna's story is very similar to what much of the Russian aristocracy experienced during the communist revolution, and Ibbotson shows that even though life is unpredictable and rarely kind, if you embrace all opportunities and make the most of your situation, you will find happiness.

posted by TeensReadToo on October 27, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Overly Glorified

When I saw this book and read the back, I immediately thought I would love it. It had different identities, history, intrigue, romance, and so much more. But when I read the book, I was sorely disappointed. First of all, the editor should have handed the book back to th...
When I saw this book and read the back, I immediately thought I would love it. It had different identities, history, intrigue, romance, and so much more. But when I read the book, I was sorely disappointed. First of all, the editor should have handed the book back to the author after reading the first chapter, and said, 'Get a copy of Strunken White!' This book was a grammar nightmare. It was also laughably cliched. Anna, the heroine, was all together too perfect. She was kind, understanding, skilled, smart, and brave, without a single flaw. Then, of course, there's Rupert, the handsome romantic interest who can be described in only two words- stereotypically conflicted. His conflict with himself seemed to be the only thing that defined him. Then there's also his fiancé, who is beautiful, vindictive, spiteful, and the typical evil witch of bad literature. The third problem this book had was how dull it was. I found myself skimming the end because I was so bored. I'm not sure how one can make such an intriguing topic so boring, but Ms. Ibbotson certainly achieved it. I do not recommend this book.

posted by Anonymous on May 26, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2008

    Overly Glorified

    When I saw this book and read the back, I immediately thought I would love it. It had different identities, history, intrigue, romance, and so much more. But when I read the book, I was sorely disappointed. First of all, the editor should have handed the book back to the author after reading the first chapter, and said, 'Get a copy of Strunken White!' This book was a grammar nightmare. It was also laughably cliched. Anna, the heroine, was all together too perfect. She was kind, understanding, skilled, smart, and brave, without a single flaw. Then, of course, there's Rupert, the handsome romantic interest who can be described in only two words- stereotypically conflicted. His conflict with himself seemed to be the only thing that defined him. Then there's also his fiancé, who is beautiful, vindictive, spiteful, and the typical evil witch of bad literature. The third problem this book had was how dull it was. I found myself skimming the end because I was so bored. I'm not sure how one can make such an intriguing topic so boring, but Ms. Ibbotson certainly achieved it. I do not recommend this book.

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2009

    HEAD ACHES!

    After reading this book, all I can say is that it left me with one massive head ache! DO NOT FALL FOR WHAT THE BACK OF THE BOOK SAYS! The book does have an interesting plot I will give it that. However, I could not stand the main character, Anna, due to the fact that she was completely unrealistic of how it would be like from being royalty and then suddenly becoming a servant. I usually like Eva Ibbotson's stories, however this one was far from good. It was so bad that I wanted to rip my eyes out and use them as golf balls.

    If you enjoy getting lost in books and having major head aches after reading it, then this book is the one for you!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2009

    zzzzzz......

    i thought i'd adore this book because i read the back and it sounded just like a great time, place, and romance to read about, but omg i thought it was pointless dribble, i'd have to reread the pages over and over again cause i got too distracted and too bored with everything. it was very confusing and i agree with other reveiwers on how too perfect she was for being a rich countess transforming to a servant girl, that should be more difficult to go through the transformation besides just doing it with a whistle and having a perfect jolly old time... i didn't think it was exciting and i had to force myself to turn the page. Very confusing and boring read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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