A Song for Summer
A Song for Summer
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Annotation: In a fragile world on the brink of World War II, a young Englishwoman takes a job as a housemother at an unconventional boarding school in Vienna.
Catalog Number: #17573
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
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Special Formats: Inventory Sale Inventory Sale
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright Date: 2006
Edition Date: 2007
Pages: 397 p.
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-14-240866-2 Perma-Bound: 0-605-14390-0
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-14-240866-7 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-14390-6
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 97048943
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Ellen is a mystery to her family. Her mother and the aunts who helped raise her were all militant suffragettes and are now part of the Bloomsbury intelligentsia, while Ellen would much rather pursue the domestic arts and follow in the footsteps of her grandfather's Austrian mistress and housekeeper. In the spring of 1937, Ellen does so, traveling to Austria to become a housemother in an eccentric boarding school that specializes in the arts and serves as a haven for adults and children who have nowhere else to go. With her innate kindness and warmth, she transforms the school and finds true love with Marek, the gardener and fencing instructor. As the tentacles of Nazism invade their world, Ellen helps Marek, who is actually a famous Czech composer in hiding, secure the safety of his Jewish violinist friend. Ibbotson, author of The Morning Gift (1993), gives life to characters of great depth and beautifully re-creates prewar Vienna and its surrounding countryside. (Reviewed March 15, 1998)
Kirkus Reviews
The molasses runs as deep—and sweet—as the Danube in this romantic drama set in an Austrian boarding school on the eve of Hitler's invasion. British novelist Ibbotson (The Morning Gift, 1993, etc.) offers a pleasant if inconsequential tale that follows the pre-war adventures of Londoner Ellen Carr after she takes the position of house mother at a socially progressive academy for budding Marxists, musicians, and artists. The position comes as a shock to Ellen's family; her mother and two aunts are committed suffragettes, having spent much jail time to free women of the burden of servile housework. But they learn, to their amazement, that this is the role Ellen has always yearned for'so much so that she dropped out of Cambridge to study home management and cooking. And now, under Ellen's gentle, resourceful care, Hallendorf School begins to function with Victorian efficiency; even the once-atheist children start attending church. Meanwhile, sensible Ellen is thrown among a quirky mix of instructors—a Russian ballerina, a hysteric metalworks teacher, and an overly emotive drama coach. None of the staff, however, is as intriguing as the mysterious groundsman, Marek, who turns out to be a prominent Czech composer hiding incognito at the school to better facilitate the rescue of a Jewish friend from a concentration camp. Ellen and Marek's acquaintance grows into a deep friendship and then love, and an engagement ensues, taking the two to Marek's vast country estate. The Nazis, though, take revenge on Marek for helping with the escape of his friend, and mayhem breaks loose. Marek is believed lost, Ellen returns to London to marry an old admirer, and many of the Hallendorf children seek refuge at the Carr residence. Will the two lovers reunite? Will the Allies win the war? A happy ending is, of course, guaranteed, though the predictability barely detracts from this companionable tale, populated with odd, likable characters. Fluff, but high-quality fluff.
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Word Count: 98,602
Reading Level: 7.1
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 7.1 / points: 17.0 / quiz: 114770 / grade: Upper Grades

A lyrical historical romance for fans of The English Patient

Eighteen-year-old Ellen never expected the Hallendorf school to be, well, quite so unusual. After all, her life back in england with her suffragette mother and liberated aunts certainly couldn’t be called normal. but buried deep in the beautiful Austrian countryside, ellen discovers an eccentric world occupied by wild children and even wilder teachers, experimental dancers and a tortoise on wheels. And then there is the particurally intriguing, enigmatic, and very handsome Marek, part-time gardener and fencing teacher. ellen is instantly attracted to the mysterious gardener, but Hitler’s reich is already threatening their peaceful world. only when she discovers Marek’s true identity and his dangerous mission does ellen realize the depth of her feelings for him—and the danger their newfound love faces in the shadow of war.

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