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Eva Ibbotson was born in Vienna in 1925 and moved to England with her father when the Nazis came into power. Ibbotson wrote more than twenty books for children and young adults, many of which garnered nominations for major awards for children's literature in the UK, including the Nestle Smarties Book Prize and the Whitbread Prize. Eva's critically acclaimed Journey to the River Sea won the Smarties Gold Medal in 2001. Set in the Amazon, it was written in honour of her deceased husband Alan, a former naturalist. Imaginative and humorous, Eva's books often convey her love of nature, in particular the Austrian countryside, which is evident in works such as The Star Of Kazan and A Song For Summer. Eva passed away at her home in Newcastle on October 20th 2010. Her final book, One Dog and His Boy, was published in May 2011.
The grim political problems of Europe before and during World War II set in motion the plot of this upbeat, gently humorous romance, but such grave matters are soon left behind so the author of Madensky Square can spin a predictable but engaging story of love denied, then finally triumphant. As the Nazis march into Vienna, British paleontologist Quinton Somerville decides to save 20-year-old Ruth Berger, daughter of his Jewish-Austrian colleague, by marrying her and whisking her off to England, where the couple plan to obtain a quick annulment. Naturally, complications delay the dissolution of their marriage, so Ruth enrolls in London's Thameside College, where Quin is a highly sought-after professor. Indeed, wealthy, aristocratic Verena Plackett has set her cap for him. Ibbotson's spirited novel features atmospheric locales--Budapest, Vienna and the Somerville estate in Northumbria among them--and a colorful supporting cast of European refugees whose eccentric behavior mystifies their upper-class British sponsors. (Aug.)
In this novel, Ibbotson ( Magic Flutes , St. Martin's, 1984, and A Glove Shop in Vienna , LJ 1/92, among others) offers an engaging love story set in pre-World War II Europe. Ruth, a vibrant, passionate young woman, is separated from her family when Hitler enters Austria. She marries Quin, a longtime family friend, in order to flee Vienna, intending to have a quick annulment once they reach England. However, neither has counted on the growing attraction to each other. Writing with humor and intelligence about this rocky relationship, Ibbotson creates a cast of charming characters. Readers will find Ruth a delight and applaud her awakening as a woman. This well-written romance will be welcome in popular fiction collections.-- Barbara E. Kemp, Library Consultant, Reston, Va.