I deeply apologize to the follower who recommended this book, because it has taken me so long to get round to reading it! But, better late than never, right?
Young Annika was abandoned in a church as a baby by her mother and found by a cook and a housemaid, who act as guardians until her real mother is found. She may be a lowly servant girl, but Annika is happy in her comfortable home in Vienna. But one day, a mysterious woman arrives in the city announcing that she is Annika’s mother, and Annika’s life is suddenly turned upside down. Her mother is not just any old woman, she is Frau Edeltraut von Tannenberg, the owner of a great estate in Germany called Spittal. Annika travels there with her mother, but her new life in this castle seems gloomy, and she is forbidden to help with household jobs, which is one of the only activities at Spittal that she finds joy in. She befriends a gypsy boy who works at Spittal, and only with him can she comfortably help around the estate. But her new mother is not as she seems and has a big secret that she is keeping from her new daughter. Can Annika be saved before it’s too late?
This is a truly beautiful story with some amazing characters. It is a real page turner and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I like how the story flips from Annika to the people back in Vienna. One of my favourite characters was Pauline, one of Annika’s great friends, because at the end she shows real courage and bravery to save Annika from harm. The professors that were Annika’s employers, too, were lovely characters and showed Annika great kindness even though she was just a servant. The writing is amazing as well, and I really enjoyed the descriptions because they created beautiful images in my mind. I really recommend this book, and I’m sure Eva Ibbotson’s other books are just as good!
Simi Star rating: ***** (5 stars)