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Saturday, 6 June 2009

Magic Flutes

I finished reading Magic Flutes by Eva Ibbotson last night. I enjoyed it even though it's aimed at the teen market. Guy - the hero - is a far from perfect character. At one point he throws a metal soup tureen through a window! This is a Ruritanian romance with attitude. It's set in Austria between the wars and features Tessa - a princess - who is slumming it working for nothing for a struggling opera company in Vienna. Guy is looking for a castle to buy and an opera company to perform Mozart's The Magic Flute at a week long house party he plans to hold to announce his engagement to Nerine - his lost love from his student days in Vienna.

Naturally enough Guy picks the opera company for which Tessa is working. I loved the background to this story and the supporting characters are as interesting as the protagonists. I loved Nerine's snobby relations and the way they treat Guy's foster mother. The dialogue is sharp and amusing and some of the incidents behind the scenes at the opera are priceless. The last few scenes are exactly the right ending for the book. I loved this great escapist read.

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