a countess below stairs.

Well I'm stuck in a YA fairy tale re-telling rut. And I think I'm reading a whole series of them next {the Once Upon A Time series}. But you're all used to this by now, right? I much prefer fairy tales to serious books :) Anyway. I read A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson and didn't really like it. This one sounded more interesting, however, so I thought I'd give Eva another try. I'm glad I did. This is the story {again, stolen from barnesandnoble.com}:

Anna, the beautiful, new maid at the Westerholme estate, keeps two very important secrets from those who work below stairs with her and from those for whom she works. The first secret is she is a Russian Countess who fled Russia following the Russian Revolution. Her family's resulting, financial ruin prompted her to seek employment as a servant at this English estate. The second secret is that she has fallen in love with her employer, Rupert, Earl of Westerholme. To complicate matters further, Rupert is engaged to be married to a rich American, Muriel Hardwick, who intends to use her finances to resurrect his weakening estate. As Muriel begins to interfere with the inner workings of Westerholme, as her prejudices towards handicapped and Jewish people emerge, and as Anna befriends Rupert, he begins to question his decision to marry Muriel after all. Filled with the dramatic intricacies required of a romance, this book has well-developed characters and enthralling plot twists and is sure to please young ladies who enjoy period pieces about falling in love. Reviewer: Jamaica Johnson Conner.

Ibbotson's writing is very wordy and very descriptive. Once you get used to it, it's really fun to read. I like how the chapters all seem kind of random and then it all comes together at the end. My one complaint is that it was kind of anti-climatic. I won't spoil anything, but let's just say I'm disappointed in Rupert. He was kind of a HUGE wuss. Aside from Rupert, the characters were great. Especially Muriel, the fiancee. She was perfectly nasty. I give it 4 stars and recommend it to anyone who likes a good romance.

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