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The Morning Gift (2007)

The Morning Gift (2007)

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3.9 of 5 Votes: 2
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0142409111 (ISBN13: 9780142409114)

About book The Morning Gift (2007)

*sob* this is the last Eva Ibbotson that I had on my shelf! I left it until last as it was the longest... oh dear, I've forgotten the name of the psychoanalyst now, but she would believe that my leaving this until last was intuitive, as I knew that it would be the best of the lot.Well, perhaps second-best, after The Secret Countess, but that I read back in Melbourne. Of the lot I have here, counting only these prettily packaged older-YA-Picadors, it just edges out A Company of Swans to be my favourite. (All up, I give first place to Journey to the River Sea - but that's of the younger set than these lovely, frothy romances.)After reading a lot of Eva Ibbotson, one does begin to notice that her books are very similar... one might even say formulaic. Her heroines are all quite similar to one another - but this is not a bad thing. Her formula is a tried and true one, each story as delightful as the last! It doesn't matter that one girl is reminiscent of another. In fact, it adds to the joy a little. Or at least I find that to be so.Ruth is beautiful, independent, intelligent, talented, and talks a lot. Talking a lot seems to be a thing with a lot of Eva Ibbotson's girls. They will ramble off in the most delightful of tangents when telling a story, and always come up with the most random thoughts, analogies and examples that the person to whom they are talking knows absolutely NOTHING of. Her girls seem to always forget that not everyone else is in their head, following their thought pattern, remembering their memories.One of the most delightful quotes from all her books has to be this one, from Ruth to Frances: "Would you like me to stop talking? Because I can. I have to concentrate, but it's possible."I also particularly enjoyed "...a large, midnight-blue Crossley tourer with brass lamps and a deep horn which recalled, faintly, the motoring activities of the redoubtable Mr. Toad" - having recently read The Wind in the Willows myself that was a fun gem! And having seen the film The King's Speech, I was also able to fully appreciate "the shy king and his stammer".And "She wants to be alone." "Like Greta Garbo?" really made me giggle!I loved the setting, the time and place - how modern it suddenly felt compared to the last couple I've read. What was also amazing to me was how real I *knew* it was... the area that the Bergers et al moved to in London is only one stop down the tube from where two friends of mine live: which is a very Jewish area. That really was where a lot of refugees ended up. (Incidentally, I left the book with that friend - I finished it while at her place and while I adored it, it was too heavy for me to want to cart around all day and then bring back to Swansea again. I hope she likes it, and I do have the option of telling her I'll pick it up next time I'm in London anyway, if I decide I need to keep it and take it back home with me.)I love how I didn't have to worry about the puppy which was almost lost at sea - just as you know that Quin and Ruth are going to fall in love and thwart their carefully made plans, you also KNOW that Eva Ibbotson would never dare to kill a puppy!You also KNOW that when he buys the emeralds (and you know they will be emeralds before he does, because of the glass on the beach) that she is going to assume it's her Morgengabe and thus the major Conflict of the novel will be stirred into motion. But this happens with about 70 pages to go - in a 500+ page book. That's another thing that is very reliable about Eva Ibbotson. She is consistent with miscommunications between her characters, but she is also consistent with these never lasting for too long. She doesn't make them drag on for half the book, making the reader frustrated at how they don't just stop being silly and TALK IT OVER. This one in fact went on for perhaps the longest, yet it was still short compared to some other books!By the way, I love the sound of the word Schmarrn. Also, I wonder how much of this book was autobiographical - perhaps a fictionalised account of part of Eva Ibbotson's own life? After all, her family also fled Vienna for London when the Nazis came to power. And she studied animal physiology at university, so I daresay a lot of the science mentioned in this book was from her own, actual field of interest.It was amazing how the examination experience described was exactly like our uni exams, 60 years on. The invigilators, the being escorted to the bathroom...There were SO many characters in this book, and they were all so vividly described. I loved Mrs. Weiss and her dangerous hook, "I buy you a cake?" and was gleeful when von Hofmann finally was able to say Schweinehund in an anti-Nazi film.This was also the second book to mention mangelwurzels. I feel I must google them now.I really loved how Eva Ibbotson tricked me as well... it was so obvious that Ruth was not going to sail with Heini - but then we fade to black with her on the boat, and when war breaks out you hear she has been five weeks in America. So you assume that you were wrong, that she DID sail and now she has to somehow be fetched home, or found by Quin while abroad. And then it turns out she didn't sail, but no one knows (except for Heini, obviously)! I loved that little twist, I fell for it so smoothly.I love how she and Frances connected so nicely as well. And Uncle Mishak. The story is just so well-rounded for all, so beautifully done. The ending, with Paul Ziller and his new quartet, and the ghost of Biberstein playing along... that actually made me tear up a little.The only slight complaint I might have is that the dreadful Verena is not mentioned in the epilogue. We are told before that she is to marry poor Kenneth, but I would have liked a bit of a follow-up. I was sad that Huw died, but it was a realistic addition to the round-up. This book was not only froth and romance and mistakes in communication. There was Hitler, there was Biberstein's death, there was having to flee the Nazis, Berger losing his position, the house being vandalised, being poor refugees in London, Heini being in a camp (though at least not one like Oranienburg or Dachau, as Ruth had imagined!), Pilly's poor chap being lost as well.Writing this has made me want to read the book again now! I think I'll have to fetch it back from Manu one day, after all... it also really makes me want to visit Vienna, even more than I already did! Lastly, this is lovely:When angels sing for God they sing Bach, but when they sing for pleasure they sing Mozart, and God eavesdrops.

After reading the above blurb about the book, I was excited to dive in. Oh yes, this seemed to fit neatly into my preferred genre! I couldn’t tell if it was going to be more romance-ish or historical-fiction-y, but I figured either way I was set.Imagine my surprise, then, when I really found myself struggling to get into this book. Eva Ibbotson’s writing style is flowy — I picked out one sentence that were so long, being packed with five or six wordy dependent clauses, that it literally was its own paragraph. The characters were well-educated and the author must be, too, alluding to all kinds of musical composers and pieces of art and obscure species of marine life and archeological finds of the early twentieth century — I was drowning in the sea of academia, especially in the beginning as I tried to sort out fictional characters from real persons who I’d never heard of.And the fictional characters — my, there were a lot of ‘em! There’s Ruth and Quin, obviously: the main characters. Then there’s Ruth’s parents. There’s Ruth’s fiance, Heini (his name proves to be pretty accurate, as he really can be a you-know-what). There’s Hilda, and a guy names Ziller, and a girl named Fraulein Something-or-Other, and a Miss Maud, and Miss Somebody Else, and Mrs. Weiss, and a guy named Levy, and Ruth’s uncle Mishak (and his dead wife Marianne). There’s Ruth’s friends she meets at school: Sam (who has a crush on Ruth), Huw (the Welshman), Pilly (who Ruth tutors), Janet (who’s seen the backseat of a motorcar a time or two); and Kurt (or was it Kent?) the grocer’s son; and Ruth’s arch-nemesis Verena (oh, and Verena’s mom). There’s Quin’s great aunt Frances and the maid Elsie who is a hundred years old and the Basher, Quin’s grandfather (great-grandfather?). There’s a couple of other professors: Roger Something? And a female professor? And a bunch of others mentioned only a few times in the story.And each character really is a fleshed-out character. The prologue is filled with Ruth’s family history, the how-we-met story of her parents. The book shifts points-of-view from Ruth to Quin to any one of these secondary characters.No wonder I felt like I was drowning until, like, page eighty. (Never mind that it’s shelved as “Young Adult.” I guess it’s only shelved as such because there’s not any steamy, R-rated detail; not because the average teenager will actually catch all this stuff.)It took awhile, but then, finally, I started warming up to Ibbotson’s writing style. In fact, by about page 200, I realized something unexpected: I loved her writing. Somehow she had a way of conveying feeling in her sentence structure, and not the words themselves. Her detail painted beautiful, intricate scenes. Simply amazing.And those secondary characters that were so cumbersome at the beginning — I actually enjoyed them, too. I loved the story about Mishak and Marianne, loved Great-Aunt Frances (and her reaction to Mishak’s story), loved Pilly (a true and loyal friend). Loved Verena in a love-to-hate-her sort of way; loved-to-hate Heini even more.The storyline itself was a little too predictable, I thought (at least, I was a step ahead of the characters for the most part) and a little too cheesy at the end (these silly romance novel characters never bother to actually *talk* to each other for fifty-some pages, creating all kinds of “drama,” and then they talk to each other and they *love* each other again). But since the silliness of the story was cloaked in such fabulous writing and charming secondary characters I can’t say I minded too much.I’d probably benefit from a re-read of this book — there’s so much detail I would actually understand the second time around. However, I think I’d rather just read something else by the same author — now that I have a better idea of what to expect.

Do You like book The Morning Gift (2007)?

Ruth,an Austrian girl,faces a series of events after the Nazi invasion and this leads her to a life-changing experience. She adores Heini Radik, a Hungarian pianist who along with her parents is separated from her during the invasion.She is rescued and reunited by a Professor Sommerville who inevitably falls in love with, building a love triangle. Yet again Eva Ibottson captures her readers with her beautiful story, which kept me turning pages. The tension of the war, disintegrating living situa

I had given up on Eva Ibbotson – but I'm glad to say that I was mistaken. I utterly adored this book – and laughed out loud more than once! I cannot put into words how much I liked this book but I'll try anyway.Ruth is a sweet, charming and very charismatic heroine who attracts everyone who meets her. She’s the daughter of Professor Berger and grows up in Vienna. When the Nazis take over she’s leaving ahead of her family on a student visa, but she's sent back and the rest of the family is gone. Luckily she meets Quin, her father's protégé who just got an honorary doctorate in Vienna. He cannot leave her in Vienna and the only escape is through a marriage of convenience, to be dissolved as soon as they reach London. Only it turns out that it wasn't that easy to dissolve a marriage – and somehow Ruth ends up in his class at the university. But Ruth was supposed to get engage to Heini, a concert pianist trying to escape from Budapest, and Verena Plackett who's also in the class, the Vice Chancellor's daughter, plans on marrying Quin herself.The story is set during the beginning of the Second World War, and it's in the background throughout the book. Eva Ibbotson was a refugee from Vienna in London and you can tell she’s in her element. The book takes place at the university and personally I really liked all the science references. It also provides some deeper insights into the culture and life during this time, and also into the life of refugees coming to a new country having left all behind.Previously I have had trouble with Eva Ibbotson in A Countess Below Stairs and A Company of Swans in which she wrote out the romance instead of letting the characters act it out but this story was completely different! Ruth and Quin have plenty of interactions and it's through these we start suspect that there might be something between them even though they haven't caught up.I loved almost everything about this book. I loved the lead couple – their interactions, bantering and slow realization that they might love each other after all. The plot was exciting, the setting exquisite and an immense story structure. I read an older version which I borrowed from the library and I think this might be better than the new one (the previous book I read was full of typos and strange translations – here there was nothing of this sort). There were great twists and turns and I was super excited to find out how (or if) they were going to end up in their happily ever after. I would recommend this to everyone!

This was a lovely book recommended to me by my dear friend, Fiona. I needed something light and nice to read during a diificult time (I usually read very dark books) and this was perfect. It has lovavble(and a couple of not so lovable) characters. It's a love story (I wouldn't classify it as a romance, as our library did)that takes place on the edge and at the beginning of WWII, but it really doesn't get into any gory details. I really grew to love the main character, Ruth. If you're looking for a sweet, enderaing read I'd recommend this book.
—Beth Knight

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