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A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson
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A Countess Below Stairs (1981)

by Eva Ibbotson

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1,407558,219 (4.02)135
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English (54)  Italian (1)  German (1)  All languages (56)
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
I can't remember how this historical romance ended up in my listening list, but it was a little overly sweet, but good for listening before sleeping. Anna's aristocratic family has been displaced by the Russian Revolution. She finds a job as a maid at an estate that is being readied for a wedding. The earl is to marry a wealthy heiress and save the impoverished estate, but who cannot fail to be entranced by the charming and graceful Anna... ( )
  cindywho | May 27, 2019 |
Also read first in English in July 2011 ( )
  litetmonster | Jan 25, 2019 |
I have read a couple other Ibbotson books before this one. I really loved “A Company of Swans” but didn’t enjoy “The Morning Gift”. This was a quick historical fiction read that I enjoyed. There is quite a bit of romance in here but it felt a bit unfinished.

This is a feel good story that is set in Russia and Europe right after/during WWII. It was a well done story but the writing was a bit simplistic. The main heroine, Anna, is almost too good to be true. Her absolute goodness in the face of everything was inspiring but also unbelievable.

I enjoyed the historical setting but throught the story was a bit contrived. Additionally the ending was abrupt and felt unfinished.

Overall this was engaging and easy to read but not great. It was an overly sweet story that was so happy throughout it felt contrived. I liked it better than The Morning Gift but not as much as A Company of Swans. Would recommend to those who enjoy light historical romance reads. ( )
  krau0098 | Jun 8, 2018 |
In libreria era sullo scaffale di "narrativa d'evasione", anche se sarebbe stato più adatto alla sezione per ragazzi/giovani.
La trama è prevedibile, ma nonostante ciò è godibilissimo: divertente, commovente e toccante.
L'ho divorato. ( )
  LaPizia | Aug 3, 2017 |
I am not sure if it is the same fairy tale or not, but I remember once reading a beautiful fairy tale about a princess, who's family lost everything and she needed to hide her identity from the palace and the bad followers, and hide her golden hair, beneath an ugly big bear's fur, and while she is trying hard to hide, her fur once slips and some maids see her and they know she is not one of them, anyway the prince start loving her, she used to sleep and hide below the stairs... the story's title reminded me of the fairy tale.
  mrsdanaalbasha | Mar 12, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Jane
First words
In the fabled, glittering world that was St. Petersburg before the First World War there lived, in an ice-blue palace overlooking the river Neva, a family on whom the gods seemed to have lavished their gifts with an almost comical abundance.
Quotations
"Rupert, none of your servants are socialists, I hope?"

"Good heavens no, I shouldn't think so. I mean, I haven't asked. Surely you don't have to be a socialist to want to have a bath?"

"It often goes together," said Muriel sagely.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This book was first published with the title "A Countess Below Stairs" and later as "The Secret Countess".
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Anna, a young 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 become a housemaid and she finds work at the Earl of Westerholme's crumbling but magnificent mansion. The staff and the family are sure there is something not quite right about their new maid - but she soon wins them over with her warmth and dedication. Then the young Earl returns home from the war - and Anna falls hopelessly in love. But they can never be together: Rupert is engaged to the snobbish and awful Muriel - and anyway, Anna is only a servant. Or so everybody thinks...
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142408654, Paperback)

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 fiancée. . . .

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:17 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

After the Russian Revolution turns her world upside down, Anna, a young Russian countess, has no choice but to flee to England. Penniless, Anna hides her aristocratic background and takes a job as a servant in the household of the esteemed Westerholme family. Anna is overwhelmed by her new duties, and her instant attraction to Rupert, the handsome Earl of Westerholme. To make matters worse, Rupert appears to be falling for her, too. Anna finds it increasingly difficult to keep her secrets from unraveling; and then there's the small matter of Rupert's fiancée.… (more)

» see all 6 descriptions

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