|The Star of Kazan|
by Eva Ibbotson
"Annika is happy living in the servants' quarters of a house owned by three eccentric professors. She adores Ellie and Sigrid, the cook and housemaid who found her as a baby, abandoned on a church doorstep. In the eleven years since, they have taught her how to bake and clean to perfection. Then one day a glamorous stranger arrives, claiming to be Annika's mother. Annika is no servant, she learns, but an aristocrat whose true home is an ancient castle. But at crumbling Spittal, Annika discovers that all is not as it seems in the lives of her newfound family. . ."
I do love my Eva Ibbotson! This book was very much in her mold. It is one of her children's books, but reminded me a lot of her books for adults, being set in Vienna with a heroine who is so good and loyal. You definitely cheer for Annika and her loved ones, and want to get even with her enemies. The plot isn't very surprising, you'll guess what is going on quite early, but the way the author gets us there is fun. The characters are all well formed and the settings and descriptions are vintage Ibbotson. This is probably my second favorite of her children's books. It will be hard for anything to beat Journey to the River Sea.
Publisher's Weekly - Ages 10+
School Library Journal - Grades 5-8