Armed with an out-of-date book on housekeeping, Anna determines to become a housemaid, and she finds work at the Earl of Westerholme's crumbling but magnificent mansion. The staff and the family are sure there is something not quite right about their new maid - but she soon wins them over with her warmth and dedication.
Then the young Earl returns home from the war - and Anna falls hopelessly in love. But they can never be together - Rupert is engaged to the snobbish and awful Muriel. And anyway, Anna is only a servant. Or so everybody thinks.
©2007 Eva Ibbotson; (P)2007 W F Howes
If you like a simple little story to be entertained, this is a good one. Don't have to think too much about this one, but that's what I like about it. How can you not like Anna?! and Muriel is soooo offensive! The whole eugenics thing brings in such a twist! Davina Porter definiatly makes this book shine! I thought this might be trashy, and i was hoping, but it wasn't and really i didn't mind! This is one of the better examples of storytelling i've come across. If you like davina porter try the outlander series!!
Davina Porter is by far my favorite narrator and listening to her narrate the poetically written The Secret Countess is a happy experience. The story itself is enchanting and you'll come to love the main character, Anna, who is a displaced Russian countess working as a housemaid in a country manor and has a true love for life. The slow building love between Anna and Rupert is believable and the descriptions of each character, the countryside, and simple things such as a dessert in the shape of a swan weave a web of magic. I could listen to Ms. Porter read this book several times over and never tire of it.
Narrative makes the world go round.
Take Marion Chesney???s Lady Rose, make her an immigrant countess and drop her "downstairs" into a Heyerite plot set post WWI rather than Georgian, Regency or Edwardian England. If this description appeals to you, you can be in for a treat.
The history detail is thin overall and the plot predictable but (lovable!) --and so well spun that I was waiting in suspense for the predicable to happen. The characters are caricatures but it's all knot together well and remixed to please those who know and enjoy the likes of Heyer, Chesney, and Elizabteh Ashton (at her best). Yeah it???s a Heyer imitation, but not a pale one. This is good clean diversion (if you don???t try to deconstruct the fairytale of the happy social class differences!)
I immediately searched for more novels by the late author. The other Audible offerings are from her children and YA fiction. The only other full length title that seemed non YA, Company of Swans, is not in the same class as the Secret Countess (both the adult titles would be suitable for YA who enjoy such fairytales).
This is 3 star stuff elevated to four stars by the divine delivery of Davina Porter and the author's playful humour.
I bought this because of Davinia Porter. She brings this story which would be 3 stars up to 5 stars. When an author chooses the right narrator they are really being very savvy. It was a sweet story and I liked it. This one I will actually enjoy listening to again.
From the moment Anna meets the Earl, we know they belong together, but the author maintains the tension of their lives and differences with highly colored, well developed characters and events. I enjoyed this sweet love story very much.
"The Secret Countess" is a classic for both young and old.
You'll love Anna, a Russian refugee who flees to England with her mother and brother after the Revolution, and the death of her father. Although forced to take up a job as a housemaid to help support her family, her joy for life and living is contagious and touches all those around her. Anna perfects the saying, "If life hands you lemons, make lemonade".
The secondary characters are so well portrayed you'll feel as though you know each and every one of them. You'll smile at the antics of Baskaville, Rupert, the Earl of Westerholme's, English Mastiff and laugh at the humorous ruse designed by Mr. Proom near the end of the book.
"The Secret Countess" stirs a range of emotions--joy, sadness, anger, humor....credited to the great performing talent of Davina Porter.
I recommend it for anyone wanting wholesome entertainment.
I should be too old for fairy tales, but I absolutely loved this story. Well read and well written, so that you don't mind that you know what's coming. In fact, as in most fairy tales, you would be terribly disappointed if the good guys did not win in the end. Highly recommend (as long as you're not looking for anything realistic or insightful...just for effortless enjoyment.)
I'm trying to work my way through Davina Porter's portfolio - she is far and away my favorite female narrator. This story seems exactly like what it is, a fun, easy, predictable romance. I think if you enjoyed the Disney movie Anastasia then you'll enjoy this book. Even though I 'knew' how the book would end, I stayed awake later than I should have so I could finish it and go to sleep content knowing the characters go their just deserts. The most interesting part to me was villainizing one of the character's interests in eugenics. This was also very lightweight, but an interesting aspect especially considering the story is set right at/after WWI and how eugenics was one of the crux of WWII. More English were supportive of the idea than people now like to remember, but of course our "heroes" reject it utterly.
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