The Secret Countess
‘A fairy tale for grown-ups. It’s unapologetically romantic but it’s also extremely funny, wry, dry and witty – and hugely uplifting.’ Marian Keyes, Daily Mail
As WWI draws to a close, a love affair that stretches across countries, families and class begins, in master storyteller Eva Ibbotson’s classic historical romance The Secret Countess, with an introduction from Amanda Craig.
Anna Grazinsky, a young Russian countess, has lived in the glittering city of St Petersburg all her life in an ice-blue palace overlooking the River Neva. But when revolution tears Russia apart, her now-penniless family is forced to flee to England. Armed with an out-of-date book on housekeeping, Anna determines to help her family in any way possible, and she is soon hired as a housemaid at the Earl of Westerholme’s crumbling but magnificent mansion.
Then Rupert, the young Earl, returns home from the war and is fascinated by his new housemaid, and the more time they spend together the more they feel inexplicably drawn together. But they can never be together; Rupert is already engaged and Anna is only a servant . . .
‘I have binged on Eva Ibbotson . . . her elegantly written, witty and well-observed fables’ – Nigella Lawson, The Times
Rediscover Eva Ibbotson, award-winning author of Journey to the River Sea, in her sweeping historical romances, including The Morning Gift, A Song For Summer and The Secret Countess, originally published as A Countess Below Stairs.
A fairy tale for grown-ups. It's unapologetically romantic but it's also extremely funny, wry, dry and witty - and hugely uplifting. -- Marian Keyes * Daily Mail * Recently during this pandemic, my friend recommended to me the adult novels of Eva Ibbotson as a solace and a joy, and I'm so glad she did. They are so full of goodness, generosity and romance! I loved The Secret Countess...there are some beautiful observations and there is a strong message underneath it, as in all of Ibbotson's books - of welcoming people in, of caring for each other, of staying positive, of enjoying food and glamorous things, as well as nurturing the more abstract qualities that make humankind not irredeemable. Ibbotson herself was a refugee from Nazi-occupied Vienna, so she knew what she was talking about. -- Jessie Burton * Good Housekeeping * Sheer bliss from start to finish * Daily Mail * Discovering Eva Ibbotson's books is one of the nicest things that's ever happened to me. The most beautiful, delicious, wry read -- Marian Keyes This year (thanks to a recommendation by Ella Risbridger on Instagram, of all places) I have binged on Eva Ibbotson, not her children's books, but her elegantly written, witty and well-observed if (after a few) formulaic fables of emigrees with beautiful burnished hair fallen on hard times. I read one after another, and rather feel your Christmas might be brightened by doing the same. So may I suggest A Song for Summer, followed by The Morning Gift, then The Secret Countess, A Company of Swans, Magic Flutes, Journey to the River Sea, and The Star of Kazan. -- Nigella Lawson * The Sunday Times * A comfortingly old fashioned tale of hidden identity and love. * LoveReading4Kids *
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