Regular price: $17.96

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

Susanna Weber is the best dress maker in Imperial Vienna. Through skill and hard work, she now owns her own dress shop, looking out over the beautiful Madensky Square. To do so, she has left her past behind, if not without regret, at least resolutely. Looking around her, at her customers and friends, Susanna is aware that she has more than most - but a few small changes cause her to realize just how precarious her situation is.

©1998 Eva Ibbotson (P)2001 W F Howes Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    14
  • 4 Stars
    7
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    14
  • 4 Stars
    6
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    10
  • 4 Stars
    8
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1
Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Charming afternoon treat

A charming book from Eva Ibbotson, from her frothier side. "Journey to the River Sea" remains my favourite book of hers, but this is a tranquil, discursive, always interesting look at fashionable life in pre-war Vienna. Especially if you are interesting in fashion, Madensky Square is enjoyable and undemanding, and delightfully stylish.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Janet
  • Spicewood, TX, United States
  • 09-27-17

Vharming, unexpected, and touching story

Set in Austria at the turn of the 20th century, this book tells the story of Susanna, an unwed mother who rebuilds her life to become a fashionable dressmaker. Her story intertwines with those of her neighbors on the Square and her lover. These include those whom she helps - such as a Hungarian waif who is a brilliant pianist and her Anarchist assistant - as well as those who help her. Filled with loving historical detail and a cast of appealing characters the story flows quickly. I fell in love with several characters along the way, had a delightful book at Austrian culture in pre-World War Europe, and was touched by the numerous insights on motherhood, friendship, and the enjoyment of life as one of our greatest responsibilities.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating but challenging

I was not expecting the maturity of the writing nor the topic, given that this author has written a good deal of children's fiction with great success. However, I greatly enjoyed listening to this book, and found unexpected pleasure in the detailed and complicated world of the main character. This is a book that requires thought, I would not recommend it for someone seeking a light quick read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Marcie
  • Guildford, United Kingdom
  • 04-21-15

The Unconventional Happy Ending

Any additional comments?

So many books follow a formula of problem - potential solution - lost opportunity - completion. Well, the world does not work that way. Life is made up of small pleasures and small victories. And recognizing that is the difference between a wasted life and a full one. The world is made up of hundreds of thousands of Madensky Squares and that choice is not only split over miles and cultures, it is split over centuries. Go back to a gentler age and meet some unique characters and follow the protagonist as she makes the most of the cards she has been dealt in life.
Ibbotson writes about the kind of person that I am and that she (rest her soul) probably was. We live intensely and feel life both pain and joy more sharply than most. It makes for intense satisfaction and this novel is intensely satisfying.
The narrator. One word describes her impeccable delivery. Mellifluous.
Enjoy!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Not Worth It

Would you try another book from Eva Ibbotson and/or Juanita McMahon?

I enjoy Eva Ibbotson's writing, thus I purchased this book, thinking it would be worth while. It wasn't.

Any additional comments?

I enjoy a number of other books the author has written, however this book is horrible. I listened to the beginning and wasn't impressed. I continued listening - hoping it would get better. It didn't. There's nothing that goes on in the story. She is going through everyday menial tasks and it's explained in the most boring way possible. Reading my meal plan for the week is more interesting. Don't waste your time.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Katharine
  • 04-20-16

Viennese delight

Life in Vienna in 1911 through the eyes of dress shop owner Susanna Weber. This is a lovely listen and Juanita McMahon really brings the story alive through her reading. On the surface this is a warm and gentle story in which nothing very much seems to happen but it is shot through with moments of darkness and the bitter knowledge of the looming 1914-18 war. The story is episodic and it did slow a little in the middle, but I cared so much about all the characters that spending time in their company was a pleasure.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • R. Howlett
  • 12-25-15

Superb character study of belle epoch Vienna

I've yet to be disappointed by anything Eva Ibbotson has written.
This is written in a very Edwardian style.
I loved every second.
It was hard initially to like some of the characters but then as they are explored each one revealed an inner life that made them so understandable.
Jaunita MacMahon's reading of it is of a untirable clarity.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jo Inglewood
  • 12-01-15

A good yarn

What made the experience of listening to Madensky Square the most enjoyable?

I ended the historical setting, it was different to my usual reads and I enjoyed the descriptions of the clothes and customs of the day.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Madensky Square?

When the main character first sees someone in a very long time, someone whom they've thought about for years and years. I do not spoil the story for someone else; so will not reveal whom. It was genuinely heartfelt writing and really stayed with me as a small but memorable part of the story,

Have you listened to any of Juanita McMahon’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I have other audio books read by this narrator and she is one of my favourites. I'm very particular about the narration; I have returned several books because of what I consider poor delivery, or extraneous noise in the reading. McMahon is very good.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, I felt that two thirds of the way the story was slow and I was feeling bored. I set off on s long walk and decided to stick with the book to see if it improved. I'm glad I did as the story picks up, all the twists and turns of the story are revealed. I ended up feeling that this was a good story.

Any additional comments?

This is the first book by this author that I've read / listened to, I would be interested to try more of her writing.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tiggy Harding
  • 09-27-15

A heartwarming classic

I adore Eva Ibbotson, and all her work. This one is like a dream of dress making and interwoven passion. The voice acting was excellent and I highly recommend!