I have liked Eva Ibbotson before, very much so and I enjoyed this one too, but whether I just was not in the mood for a light, fluffy romance or it was just this one – I do not know.
Ibbotson’s books inhabit a world of fairytale, one with castles, moats, princes and princesses. Almost all the time the princess has been forced to abandon her privileged life because of revolution, war or in this book – the desire to serve music and not have to live the stifling life expected from a princess.
The princess is always beautiful – sometimes unconventionally so but still beautiful. The romantic interest is always absolutely stunningly good looking and often engaged to the absolute wrong type of person and just needs to open his eyes to what’s in front of him. In other words, the storylines are quite predictably recycled but then romances often are quite predictable anyway. I do sometimes wish that Ibbotson would do something a little different rather then changing the characters name, choosing a different time or setting.
However, what I do love about Ibbotson is that her writing is just so sumptuously beautiful. Her stories are imbued with the love for culture – art, history and nature. This sets her apart from many other romances (not that I’ve really read that many, but enough) because reading her books are like basking in pure, unshielded golden sunlight. The stories are old fashioned loveliness – it is romantic, in the truly romantic sense of the word.
In Magic Flutes this is no less so and perhaps it is just that my mood is not quite reflected by this book – but I found this somewhat lacking compared to the others I’ve read and enjoyed. My favourite so far has been The Morning Gift. I was completely lost in that book and it felt quite real and like it had slightly more storyline to it.
I never found myself gunning for the romantic interests – Guy and Tessa. I didn’t really care that much about either of them at all. It just seemed as if they saw each other, instantly fell in love and then that was it. She is perfection and he is the epitome of manly manliness. There is nothing more to it. Everything else just felt like stuffing until the rather bland ending.
I still really enjoy Ibbotson, I like a good romance every so often and she just manages to make them so magical and with so much warmth. It’s just that this one either didn’t capture my mood and imagination, or it isn’t as good as the others I have read.
If you haven’t read Ibbotson before, I would recommend The Morning Gift as that is my favourite .