Title: A Song for Summer
Author: Eva Ibbotson
Published: 1998, St. Martin's
Category: Romantic Fiction
One more Ibbotson before I move on to other things. ;)
Ellen Carr has been raised by her suffragette mother and two aunts, all professional career women who take pride in the fact that they are leading the way for independent women everywhere. They are therefore taken aback when Ellen doesn't want to follow in their footsteps, but instead insists on attending the Lucy Hatton School of Cookery and Household Management. Degree in hand, Ellen takes her first job as housemother in an eccentric boarding school in Austria. She finds plenty to keep her busy at the school, taking care of the children (and staff too) and making everyone comfortable and at home. She meets the mysterious Marek, who says he's the groundskeeper but seems to be hiding out for reasons unknown. WWII is coming ever closer as Austria comes under the control of the Third Reich.
I enjoyed this book as well, but it was not as deliciously joyful as the other Ibbotsons I've read. Obviously understandable in a book set in WWII. There is a much more realistic feeling to it, more grown up, not at all a fairy tale. I did love that Ellen makes her own decision about what to do with her life, even though her family does not approve. And in the end, she shows everyone that she has a real gift for the domestic arts and that making a home comfortable and providing shelter and love can be as useful and rewarding as being a doctor or professor.