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Publisher's Note:  

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background and takes a job as servant in the household of the esteemed westerholme family, armed only with an outdated housekeeping manual and sheer determination.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. . . .



A Countess Below Stairs

by Eva Ibbotson

Review Date:
01/18/2013

Recommended Age:
14+

Overall Rating:
*****

Profanity / Language Rating:
**

Violence / Gore Rating:
*

Sex / Nudity Rating:
***

Overall Review:  

Eva Ibbotson is one of my very favorite authors. Her sweet, genuine characters, quirky settings and personalities, and satisfying plots never fail to bring a smile to my face and an added measure of joy to my heart. Ibbotson's books—especially her six novels written for adults and young adults—are the sort of books I always turn to when I need a pick-me-up.

 

A Countess Below Stairs, like all of Ibbotson's novels, has wonderful characters and settings so lifelike you'll feel like you've spent time in Russia and the English countryside, instead of just reading about it. Anna's passion for life is inspiring and uplifting, and the romance in the plot is sweet and affirming without being over-the-top or inappropriate. Although Ibbotson's adult books are often referred to as romances, they're also a lot more—beautiful historical novels that paint wonderful pictures of times and places gone by, as well as laugh-out-loud funny storylines with crazy plots and absurdly larger-than-life characters who can be counted on to bring a smile to your face.

 

A Countess Below Stairs is recommended for teen and adult readers who love terrific historical fiction with plenty of humor, endearing characters, and just enough romance.


Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language: 15 religious exclamations; 7 mild obscenities.

 

Violence/Gore: References are made to men being wounded in a war. A reference is made to a man dying in a war (the story is told by a man who witnessed it and is haunted by the memory; it is emotionally strong but very short). A man says he has had a dream about a friend dying in a war. A sensational story is told about an ancestor who is supposed to have committed murder. A girl is mistreated. A little girl is emotionally bullied by an adult woman.

 

Sex/Nudity: An elderly man makes passes at housemaids. A man accidentally comes upon a woman bathing in a lake and sees her naked (no description is given, but it's clear that he sees her). A housemaid helps her mistress bathe. Several (about five) references are made to illegitimate pregnancies. A few subtle references are made to sexual intercourse. Men and women flirt, kiss, and hold hands/touch.



Mature Subject Matter:  

War and the aftermath of war.



Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Adult characters drink alcohol and eat dishes made with alcohol. Adult men smoke.



Reviewed By CindyB
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