Title: Magic Flutes
Author: Eva Ibbotson
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, History, Romance
5th sentence, 74th page: Charles was heir to a baronetcy and a famous estate in Wiltshire; she accepted him and had to endure the four years’ martyrdom that followed his injury in Flanders.
Tessa is a beautiful, tiny, dark-eyed princess who’s given up her duties to follow her heart, working backstage at the Viennese opera. No one there knows who she really is or that a fairy-tale castle is missing its princess – and Tessa is determined to keep it that way.
But secret lives can be complicated. When a wealthy handsome Englishman discovers this bewitching urchin backstage, Tessa’s two worlds collide – and in escaping her inheritance, she finds her destiny…
An Austrian princess, a millionaire and an opera, what better setting and couple for a romance? The fact that it is based in Venice in 1922 and features some of the most enchanting imagery I’ve read in a while? It’s just beautiful. This is such a heart-warmingly sweet story that I finished it inside a day. Actually, I refused to do any of the work that I have piling up simply because I wanted to bury myself in the beauty and the romance of this tale.
I like Tessa – she is constantly described as waif-like. And, initially, she is seen as being weak and quiet. A silent almost pushover like woman. Yet, as the story develops, her quiet demeanour reveals a backbone of steel. Even in love and lost to the world that she knows and loves, she is able to hold her head high. At least in public, the heartache of unrequited love and finding one’s soul mate is so beautifully tragic. And sweet. And kind. And just, in general, heart breakingly gooshy.
Actually, I struggle to find the words for this novel. It is filled with a great (if not predictable) love story. The stunningly described backdrop, the slow realisation that the two are in love and the constant challenges thrown in their way take you on an amazing journey. The fact that there is a historical setting and an understanding of the cultural and social outlay at the time. It just makes the story all the better, and far more enthralling to read.
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