Some cliché with your literature?

I have already read one book by Eva Ibbotson, that being, A Song for Summer.  It was a little while ago and I can’t really remember the particulars of it, but I do remember that I liked the book.  So, it was for this reason that I bought A Countess Below Stairs. (Although I thought it was A Countess Below Stars, when I got it.  I’m a good reader, obviously. 😉 )

I also happen to not like this cover. It's been over photoshopped.

Now, straight to the point.  I didn’t like it much and I probably wouldn’t recommend it.  The plot is incredibly cliché (humbled aristocrat works as a maid for a terribly dashing young valid, who has a terribly nasty fiancée, maid and man fall in love, bitchy fiancée storms off stage).  And, the very typical plot could have been saved by dynamic characters, but unfortunately the characters in A Countess Below Stairs are pretty flat.  For example…

  1. Anna, the Russian countess who works as a maid for the Earl of Westerholme, is impossibly good.  She has absolutely no flaws, except maybe being too humble.  Seriously, would a countess really be expected to lunge herself enthusiastically at hard and dirty housework?
  2. Muriel, the Earl’s fiancée, on the other hand, is impossibly evil.  There is no instance of kindness, compassion, or even understanding on her part.  She’s truly despicable, which is great for a villianess, but she’s still human.
  3. Rupert, the earl, doesn’t stand as a character.  How could he have been fooled for an instant by Muriel?  How did he fall in love with Anna?  I don’t feel like these questions are ever really answered.  And, he’s very quick to be swayed (first into believing Anna was engaged to Sergei, then that she wasn’t).

Am I being too harsh?  I think I’ll have to read A Song For Summer again so I can put Eva Ibbotson back in my good books.

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3 thoughts on “Some cliché with your literature?

  1. I haven’t read that one by her. I do own “A Journey to the River Sea”, which I really, really loved when I first read it.

    Although that was a few years ago. I should really re-read and see if I like it as much now I’m older…

    “Hamlet” on your reading list, FTW. It’s my favourite Shakespeare (closely followed by Midsummer Night’s Dream).

    Claire is currently reading “The Book Thief” and loving it =D

  2. That’s such a shame, because she’s a really marvelous children’s author. I guess that some of that storytelling doesn’t translate to the young adult genre. There’s a lot more black-and-white morality in children’s lit, not a lot of room for gray area. =// But Dial a Ghost and Island of the Aunts and the Secret of Platform 13 and Journey to the River Sea (yay, Claire) are amazing. I still take them out and read them sometimes.

    LOL, I was looking at this book at Borders, and I totally thought it was “Countess Under Stars” too. xD (I read the first chapter there and definitely felt the cliché, though.)

    Happy Birthday, my dear. Hope it was spiffy. =)

  3. This is totally Sarah from DIG, fyi. I got a wordpress account. Sorry for any inadvertent creeper-ness. >.>

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