A Song for Summer

A Song for Summer

4.0 53
by Eva Ibbotson
     
 

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A lyrical historical romance for fans of The English Patient

Eighteen-year-old Ellen never expected the Hallendorf school to be, well, quite so unusual. After all, her life back in england with her suffragette mother and liberated aunts certainly couldn’t be called normal. but buried deep in the beautiful Austrian countryside, ellen discovers an

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Overview

A lyrical historical romance for fans of The English Patient

Eighteen-year-old Ellen never expected the Hallendorf school to be, well, quite so unusual. After all, her life back in england with her suffragette mother and liberated aunts certainly couldn’t be called normal. but buried deep in the beautiful Austrian countryside, ellen discovers an eccentric world occupied by wild children and even wilder teachers, experimental dancers and a tortoise on wheels. And then there is the particurally intriguing, enigmatic, and very handsome Marek, part-time gardener and fencing teacher. ellen is instantly attracted to the mysterious gardener, but Hitler’s reich is already threatening their peaceful world. only when she discovers Marek’s true identity and his dangerous mission does ellen realize the depth of her feelings for him—and the danger their newfound love faces in the shadow of war.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A lively read. (Library Journal)
Library Journal
Ellen, the lovely heroine of this romantic novel, is raised in London by a suffragist mother and aunts but rejects the liberated life. After graduating from a culinary school, she takes a job in Austria at a run-down boarding school for neglected rich children and transforms it with her beauty, hard work, and good cooking. Like Ellen, all the characters are pleasantly drawn if exaggerated stereotypes: Ellen's love interest, Marek, the school handyman, is really a brilliant composer hiding out from the Nazis; the scullery maid is beautiful and saintly; and all the children are budding geniuses. When the war intervenes, Ellen returns to England to build a sanctuary for her friends and other refugees; eventually she and Marek are reunited, and love conquers all. Ibbotson, who grew up in Austria and fled the Nazis herself, provides rich details of prewar life in Vienna and the alpine countryside. Her prose is like a Linzertortewell constructed but awfully sweet. Still, this is a lively read. Recommended for popular fiction collections.Reba Leiding, Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst. Lib., Troy, NY
Kirkus Reviews
The molasses runs as deepþand sweetþas the Danube in this romantic drama set in an Austrian boarding school on the eve of Hitler's invasion. British novelist Ibbotson (The Morning Gift, 1993, etc.) offers a pleasant if inconsequential tale that follows the pre-war adventures of Londoner Ellen Carr after she takes the position of house mother at a socially progressive academy for budding Marxists, musicians, and artists. The position comes as a shock to Ellen's family; her mother and two aunts are committed suffragettes, having spent much jail time to free women of the burden of servile housework. But they learn, to their amazement, that this is the role Ellen has always yearned forþso much so that she dropped out of Cambridge to study home management and cooking. And now, under Ellen's gentle, resourceful care, Hallendorf School begins to function with Victorian efficiency; even the once-atheist children start attending church. Meanwhile, sensible Ellen is thrown among a quirky mix of instructorsþa Russian ballerina, a hysteric metalworks teacher, and an overly emotive drama coach. None of the staff, however, is as intriguing as the mysterious groundsman, Marek, who turns out to be a prominent Czech composer hiding incognito at the school to better facilitate the rescue of a Jewish friend from a concentration camp. Ellen and Marek's acquaintance grows into a deep friendship and then love, and an engagement ensues, taking the two to Marek's vast country estate. The Nazis, though, take revenge on Marek for helping with the escape of his friend, and mayhem breaks loose. Marek is believed lost, Ellen returns to London to marry an old admirer, and many of theHallendorf children seek refuge at the Carr residence. Will the two lovers reunite? Will the Allies win the war? A happy ending is, of course, guaranteed, though the predictability barely detracts from this companionable tale, populated with odd, likable characters. Fluff, but high-quality fluff.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780142408667
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
05/10/2007
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
643,296
Product dimensions:
8.24(w) x 10.92(h) x 1.11(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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From the Publisher
A lively read. (Library Journal)

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