To continue with our historical fiction kick, here's a review of A Song for
As the daughter and niece of three of Britain's most powerful and influential women in the late 1930's, Ellen's future and options are limitless. But instead of attending Oxford, she shocks her mother and aunts by enrolling into a cooking and housekeeping academy, and then accepts a position as a school matron at Hallendorf School, in Austria. Hallendorf is far different than any boarding school that Ellen's ever known. The teachers and students are free spirited, lively, and dramatic. But most mysterious is the gardener, Marek. Marek is plagued by years of guilt, and Hallendorf school is just a cover for a secret mission that he is driven to accomplish...one that he might not be able to complete without Ellen's help.
Ibbotson's spirited voice rings true in this enrapturing novel with a varied and colorful cast of characters and a complex and multilayered plotline. Though the ever changing points of view and lack of extensive elaboration on many subjects may disorient the reader slightly, A Song for Summer exudes a relaxed and comfortable air that makes it simple for the reader to step into the time period and setting and experience every wonderfully depicted detail with Ibbotson's clever use of imagery. Her smooth delivery builds up suspense on every page, making each sentence of this realistic and frank novel all that more enjoyable, culminating in a tasteful and artfully crafted masterpiece.
Be sure to look for Ibbotson's other historical fiction novels, each with equally beautiful covers: A Countess Below Stairs, A Company of Swans, and The Morning Gift.