When I first began reading The Secret Countess by Eva Ibbotson, I skimmed over the historical detail passages. I’m not a massive fan of historical fiction, but I gave this book a go after my younger sister told me that her friends had assured her that it was a good book.
“Good book” is an understatement. As I kept reading, I found myself loving Anna more and more. Anna, a young countess from Russia, finds work as a maid in an earl’s manor. She keeps her identity a secret, and though the other servants at the manor have their initial reservations, they also end up liking her. When the earl, Rupert, brings home his new bride, Muriel, I immediately took a dislike to her (Muriel). There was something about the way they became engaged while Rupert was lying injured in the hospital during the war that was off.
As the story goes on, I find that Anna is basically a perfect heroine, since she doesn’t complain about the hard work, and is nice to everyone. The build up to the scene where Rupert and Anna discover that they love each other is just right, and little Ollie Byrne is just charming.
This book is a romance, and is aimed mainly at female readers. If you want to read a book where the characters feel real and have substance, then The Secret Countess is for you.