Magic Flutes10-12 years
RoNA Romantic Novel of the Year Award
Sweeping across countries, class and music, Eva Ibboton's classic historical romance, Magic Flutes, is a richly imagined tale of intrigue and identity, with a new introduction from Harriet Evans.
In the spring of 1922, young Austrian Princess Theresa-Maria – known to her ancient aunts as 'Putzerl' – abandons her crumbling castle and her royal duties. Disguising herself simply as Tessa, she enrolls as under wardrobe mistress of the International Opera Company and soon loses herself in the intoxicating world of the Viennese opera.
But when Guy Farne, an Englishman looking to impress his new fiance, arrives in Austria and employs the Company to perform at his newly purchased Austrian estate, he finds himself fascinated by the under wardrobe mistress, and Tessa finds it increasingly difficult to keep her two lives separate . . .
'I have binged on Eva Ibbotson . . . her elegantly written, witty and well-observed fables' Nigella Lawson, The Times
Rediscover Eva Ibbotson, award-winning author of Journey to the River Sea, in her sweeping historical romances, including The Morning Gift, A Song For Summer, The Secret Countess (originally published as A Countess Below Stairs), Madensky Square and A Company of Swans. Magic Flutes was originally published as The Reluctant Heiress.
Discovering Eva Ibbotson’s books is one of the nicest things that’s ever happened to me. The most beautiful, delicious, wry read
This year (thanks to a recommendation by Ella Risbridger on Instagram, of all places) I have binged on Eva Ibbotson, not her children’s books, but her elegantly written, witty and well-observed if (after a few) formulaic fables of emigrées with beautiful burnished hair fallen on hard times. I read one after another, and rather feel your Christmas might be brightened by doing the same. So may I suggest A Song for Summer, followed by The Morning Gift, then The Secret Countess, A Company of Swans, Magic Flutes, Journey to the River Sea, and The Star of Kazan.
Nigella Lawson, The Sunday Times
Her books are utterly delightful