Being an heiress in 1920s Austria with nothing but a broken-down castle to your name and nary a penny in your purse could be frustrating for anyone but the Princess Theresa-Maria of Pfaffenstein. “Tessa,” however, is thrilled with her situation, as it allows her to concentrate on her love of the arts—and no one in the Viennese opera company need know that their delightful and charming under-wardrobe mistress is really a princess. But when the dashing self-made millionaire Guy Farne arrives at the opera in search of suitable entertainment for his high society guests, Tessa realizes that there may be more to life—and love—than just music. But while the attraction between them in undeniable, Guy’s insufferable snob of a fiancée only solidifies Tessa’s determination to keep her true identity a secret. Yet, after a chance meeting with the handsome Englishman, Tessa’s reserve begins to melt, and she starts to wonder if it’s not too late for a fairytale ending…
Rating: 4 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: Teens, clean romance readers, anyone seeking something comfortable
High point: The fairytale
Low point: The in-the-way fiancée
Reader maturity: 13+
The problem with reading so many books by the same author is that they run together after a while. I've almost run out of things to say about Eva Ibbotson's historical novels. As per the usual, it's gorgeously written with page-jumping descriptions, the main character is almost too perfect, the love interest is continually thwarted and ravishingly moody, the obstacle--in this case, a fiancée--is despicable and hilariously, over-the-top evil.
The supporting characters are amusing, and as ever, the heroine is lovable and charming, even in her near-perfection. It's a tale with drama, adventure, miscommunication and predestined love. It's predictable but doesn't disappoint. The Reluctant Heiress isn't my favorite Ibbotson novel--that honor goes to The Morning Gift--but it's an enjoyable light read. If you want a historical with a fairy-tale ending to occupy a few pleasant hours, I recommend The Reluctant Heiress.
Title: The Reluctant Heiress
Author: Eva Ibbotson
Genre: Teen Fiction - Romance & Friendship
Book Source: Purchased