Oh what a lovely book: smart, and funny, and imaginative - if only it had been read by someone with a real British accent and a sense of mischief equal to the author's. It's a testament to the story that I stuck it out, mispronunciations and all.
I borrowed this book from a local library shortly after it was published with no knowledge of the author, and no expectations. And the plot is pure hokum - anyone who has ever read a Mills and Boon (or Harlequin) romance will know what's going on from the start - but oh, what lovely writing illuminates the story. Funny, poignant, sometimes wickedly sly - all with a completely clear understanding of my understanding of the genre made it an instant, and often re-read favorite, and an author I searched for in bookstores.
To find it now, well read (albeit with a sometimes strange take on the Russian accents) and completely unabridged to add to our audio library is a complete joy.
Should you be equally charmed, try Ms Ibbotson's children's books. I had to when I ran out of grown up titles in her (at the time very short) canon, and am now torn as to which are better fun. Anyone who can invent "The gliding kilt" as a ghostly character has to be commended, and read at any age.
Just loved this. A really good narrator (Lenny Henry, Brit comedian, Caribbean heritage, so the accents are spot on) great story - funny, quirky, definite. A proper fairy story for grown ups. Highly recommended.
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