Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Familiarity breeds ... content

I retrieved another book on cassette from a nearby library system and started A Countess Below Stairs in the car last night. This is an old title (1981) from Eva Ibbotson, whose Little Princess-inspired stories (Journey to the River Sea, The Star of Kazan) I have very much enjoyed. (And now that I check our catalog, I see that she has written a bunch of [what I'm assuming are] tame romances for adults.) Fleeing the Russian Revolution, Anna Gruzinsky [sp?] takes up a post as parlormaid in the house of a young English lord who has just gotten himself engaged to a wealthy young woman who is a fan of the eugenics movement but whose money is spiffing up the ancestral pile. The Earl of Westerholme has just witnessed Anna taking a discreet bath in the lake (because there isn't any place for the servants to take baths), so I foresee romantic entanglement in the future, that will, of course, all work out most satisfactorily in the end. I just loved this kind of book when I was a young teenager (see previous posting about Jane Eyre).

Davina Porter is narrating, and she does that English historical stuff so well. She can make all the social status accents distinguishable, and tells the story in an engaging and sprightly fashion. I can tell that these nine and a half hours are going to be pleasurable in that familiar way. I mean, I know exactly what is going to happen, but I'm glad to listen to it all anyway. Such a relief after Homeboyz and Such a Pretty Girl.

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