Customer Reviews for

A Countess Below Stairs

Average Rating 4
( 145 )
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(82)

4 Star

(28)

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(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 August 2, 2010

    Boring

    While reading the back of this book in the bookstore, I was excited. The romance sounded good and revolutionary Russia had been a recent interest of mine. So I thought the book would be great. But it was a definite struggle for me to finish this book. I kept telling myself that it would speed up but near the end I began to come to the conclusion that it was just boring. I was so disappointed. It was like blah, blah, blah, between overly complicated filler that could have easily been left out. The main character was frustratingly perfect. And it was not all that romantic. I didn't even notice any romantic feelings between Anna and Rupert until the end. And it was so abrupt. Love takes time. When they revealed their feelings, I was like "where did that come from?" If anything there were a few interesting parts, and I found the Russian phrases really charming.

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  • Posted August 31, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Not Really Worth The Time

    Just like my headline says, not really worth the time. Most of it is pretty boring. There are some entertaining/interesting parts, but I would definitely not read it again and to me that is saying a lot. I honestly should have bought a different book instead.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2007

    A reviewer

    this book is good if you just feel like reading a book to pass time. its was slow and at times boring and confuzing. she never really talks about the romance between rupert and anna. most of the book is about thoughts and not really romance. it isnt until the ending that you realize that anna and rupert love eachother. the other charactors seem to fall just short of being 'human' they dont do much but sit around and talk feeling sorry for themselves. another thing about this book was that nobdy ever told rupert that his wife to be is a total B****. the only charactor in the book that i liked was the dog. he seemed to be the only one to make a tranformation. the story line was good but not followed through. the strong writing im used to from her isnt here. and i was dissapionted.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2013

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