A few months ago, while reading up the DIK list on AAR (All About Romance), researching the theme for Keishon’s TBR challenge, I stumbled upon a wonderful recommendation for Eva Ibbotson’s A Countess Below Stairs which made me really keen to read the book. So when I chanced upon it on an online store, I bought the book without a moment’s hesitation.
’Twas well worth every cent invested and more. A heart-warming, old-fashioned, and rather chaste romance, this delightful novel follows the adventures of Russian aristocrat Anna Granzinsky who was forced to flee her homeland upon the death of her beloved father and the Bolsheviks had seized power. Following her English governess to safety, gentle and polite Anna decided to take up a position as a housemaid in the home of the Earl of Westerholme, to lessen the burden on her governess. To keep her new found occupation a secret, she told her family that she was invited as a guest to the country manor.
Despite the household’s doubts, Anna worked harder than everyone, and eventually won over the hearts of the Earl’s entire staff and became friend to the Earl’s uncle. Even Rupert, the Earl and returning war hero, fell under the spell of her grace and charm, and even grew to love Anna, who returned his feelings. Unfortunately, the Earl is engaged, and to a rather nasty and self-absorbed heiress, whose fervent belief in Eugenics led to many comical and unpleasant incidents, and unkind words of to Rupert’s friends, staff, and neighbours.
As the wedding drew closer, Anna, Rupert and even their friends and the Earl’s staff and desperately find a way to stop the wedding, and unite the true lovers. The snag is: Anna must keep her identity from everyone, even her true love. The ending was not just happy, it was funny, heart-warming and endearingly sweet.
Janine of DearAuthor wrote a really fitting review on it if you need further conviction. This is definitely a keeper that warrants an IMB rating of 5.0.