Thursday, April 7, 2011

Review of A Song for Summer

In a fragile world on the brink of World War II, a young Englishwoman takes a job as a housemother at an unconventional boarding school in Vienna. Soon everyone at the Hallendorf School, from the headmaster to the mysterious groundsman, relies on her for nurturing, What happens when the menace of Hitler's power reaches this idyllic world makes for a powerfully moving tale.
[from Goodreads]

Rating:  4.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Teens, clean romance readers
High point:  The dreaminess
Low point:  It's the last one...
Reader maturity: 13+

A Song for Summer is somewhat bittersweet for me, because it brings me to the end of Eva Ibbotson's novels. Fortunately, it went out with a bang and tied with The Morning Gift as my favorite.

I finally put my finger on how to describe these novels, which are all so alike, it's hard to write an individual review. A Song for Summer is like the best kind of dream, with a virtuous, smart and pretty girl falling in love with a mysterious (but good!) man in a place more beautiful than can be described. This story, in particular, nailed the main character--like all the others, she's sort of, well, perfect, but she's a lot less overtly perfect than her counterparts from the other books. The love interest is also less selfish than his counterparts, making for a much more interesting story. There are so many threads and backstories that weave together in this one.

The students at the school where Ellen teaches help complete the novel. They pop out and grow and change; their excitement is the readers' excitement. I couldn't help but wish to be privy to a viewing of some of their antics.

This will spoil the ending, so if you haven't read anything by Eva Ibbotson, stop here. The ending is happy, of course, which is one reason that makes this the best kind of dream--drama, romance and a happily ever after.

Title:  A Song for Summer
Author:  Eva Ibbotson
Genre:   Teen Fiction - Romance & Friendship
Year:   1996
Book Source:  Purchased

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