29 December 2016

Book Review: The Secret Countess, Eva Ibbotson

The Secret Countess

Title: The Secret Countess
Author: Eva Ibbotson
Published: 01/06/2007, Young Picador
Pages: 352
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback

Rating: 2/5

"After the Russian revolution turns her world topsy-turvy, Anna, a young Russian Countess, has no choice but to flee to England. Penniless, Anna hides her aristocratic background and takes a job as servant in the household of the esteemed Westerholme family, armed only with an outdated housekeeping manual and sheer determination. 

Desperate to keep her past a secret, Anna is nearly overwhelmed by her new duties—not to mention her instant attraction to Rupert, the handsome Earl of Westerholme. To make matters worse, Rupert appears to be falling for her as well. As their attraction grows stronger, Anna finds it more and more difficult to keep her most dearly held secrets from unraveling. And then there’s the small matter of Rupert’s beautiful and nasty fiancĂ©e..."

Okay, so I remember The Secret Countess used to be one of my favourite books back when I was in my mid-teens. I recently found my copy hiding in my bookcase and thought it would be nice to give it a re-read. What a bad idea that was! Though I still enjoyed the story, I was so disappointed that it was no where near as good as I remember it. I'm actually so annoyed!

The Secret Countess is set in London, 1919, and centres around Anna, a Russian Countess forced to flee from the Bolsheviks. Although, Anna, Rupert and the many servants of Westerholme are all likeable, I just couldn't connect with them this time around. To be honest, I didn't actually find them that memorable either.

I found the plot very slow compared to what I remember it being. There is a lot of description in The Secret Countess which is great, but I found that there was so much irrelevant information too. It was sometimes quite difficult to remember the original point of a paragraph. It just veered off on a tangent. There are many different plot points to the story too, however they all converged together quite nicely at the end. But, it just wasn't as climatic as I remembered it.

The Secret Countess was an okay re-read. I'm just disappointed it didn't live up to my memories. However, I still think I would recommend The Secret Countess to fans of historical YA fiction, particularly younger teens. I think this is just one of those books that shouldn't be read more than once.

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