Being an heiress in 1920s Austria with nothing but a broken-down castle to your name and nary a penny in your purse could be frustrating for anyone but the Princess Theresa-Maria of Pfaffenstein. Tessa, however, is thrilled with her situation, as it allows her to concentrate on her love of the arts—and no one in the Viennese opera company need know that their delightful and charming under-wardrobe mistress is really a princess, but when the dashing self-made millionaire Guy Farne arrives at the opera in search of suitable entertainment for his high society guests, Tessa realized that there may be more to life—and love—than just music. And while the attraction between them is undeniable, Guy’s insufferable snob of a fiancée only solidifies Tessa’s determination to keep her true identity a secret. Yet, after a chance meeting with the handsome Englishman, Tessa’s reserve begins to melt, and she starts to wonder if it’s too late for a fairy-tale ending.
- Number of pages: 325
This is a hard review for me. I am not exactly sure why that would be because I dove through this book in like three days max and I love all of the books by Eva Ibbotson. Ibbotson’s stories always have that affect on me: I love them, but they are hard to describe. But I will do my best so here it goes.
The characters Ibbotson creates in her stories are so interesting to read about, if not a bit unrealistic. Their characteristics and personalities are exaggerated a bit, but not that it’s not fun to read. My personal preference in a book is clean no-nonsense writing that has plenty of dialogue. Eva Ibbotson is a writer that I would put in the category of “flowery writing”, but she writes the stories so well that I can't help loving it. Her plots are always interesting romances that one would read when they are in the mood to live out a fairytale love story. Whether the attraction is thwarted by a vile fiancé (like it is in this story) or that the love can’t flourish because of a stupid misunderstanding by a one of the characters, the stories are captivating. I couldn’t help but worry when Guy gave Tessa the cold shoulder. Or find myself amused with the little boy who loved Tessa so much. I always felt some type of emotion throughout the book. What’s good is that Eva finds a way at the end to make every situation come together in a happy ending that always has a little surprising twist at the end. I would absolutely recommend people to read The Reluctant Heiress, but you have to give it your best try and let the story turn naturally and smoothly through your mind. From 1-10? I would give this lovely story a 7.5.