Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Song for Summer

Hey, ya'll, I'm sorry I haven't posted for a while. I didn't want to come back until I'd finished another book, as my progress has been slow this past week. I settled on A Song for Summer by Eva Ibbotson, who also wrote The Morning Gift which I reviewed earlier. Eva Ibbotson's novels have very defining characteristics. There is a large host of secondary characters who help move the plot along as well as provide comic relief. There is also a great deal of research put into her historical romances, usually following a war. And there is always music

A Song for Summer is no exception. Ellen grew up in an English suffragette household, wanting to be a domestic. She has a way with children, plants, words, and a ladle. After school she moves to Hallendorf, a tiny town in Austria to become the matron of an unconventional school of arts. As war against Hitler looms closer, Ellen finds solace in her day to day battle against bad cooks and unsupportive townspeople who object to the metalworking teacher swimming in the lake four times a day. She also finds Marek, a talented composer who's gone to ground in order to search out his Jewish friend who was placed in an concentration camp. He works as a handyman at Hallendorf's school, and finds Ellen.

At first I was wary of this novel, because it seemed to be portraying that being a submissive domestic was a higher calling than a strong suffragette. But as the novel progressed I found myself softening to Ellen, and to what she found to be her path. A Song for Summer doesn't say that women should be docile. It just says that there are different kinds of strong women - the ones who tie themselves to lampposts and demand the vote, and those who stay in the kitchen and cook for the loud ones.

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars

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