Susanna Weber is the best dress maker in Imperial Vienna. Through skill and hard work, she now owns her own dress shop, looking out over the beautiful Madensky Square. To do so, she has left her past behind, if not without regret, at least resolutely. Looking around her, at her customers and friends, Susanna is aware that she has more than most - but a few small changes cause her to realize just how precarious her situation is.
©1998 Eva Ibbotson (P)2001 W F Howes Ltd
Life in Vienna in 1911 through the eyes of dress shop owner Susanna Weber. This is a lovely listen and Juanita McMahon really brings the story alive through her reading. On the surface this is a warm and gentle story in which nothing very much seems to happen but it is shot through with moments of darkness and the bitter knowledge of the looming 1914-18 war. The story is episodic and it did slow a little in the middle, but I cared so much about all the characters that spending time in their company was a pleasure.
I've yet to be disappointed by anything Eva Ibbotson has written.
This is written in a very Edwardian style.
I loved every second.
It was hard initially to like some of the characters but then as they are explored each one revealed an inner life that made them so understandable.
Jaunita MacMahon's reading of it is of a untirable clarity.
I ended the historical setting, it was different to my usual reads and I enjoyed the descriptions of the clothes and customs of the day.
When the main character first sees someone in a very long time, someone whom they've thought about for years and years. I do not spoil the story for someone else; so will not reveal whom. It was genuinely heartfelt writing and really stayed with me as a small but memorable part of the story,
I have other audio books read by this narrator and she is one of my favourites. I'm very particular about the narration; I have returned several books because of what I consider poor delivery, or extraneous noise in the reading. McMahon is very good.
No, I felt that two thirds of the way the story was slow and I was feeling bored. I set off on s long walk and decided to stick with the book to see if it improved. I'm glad I did as the story picks up, all the twists and turns of the story are revealed. I ended up feeling that this was a good story.
This is the first book by this author that I've read / listened to, I would be interested to try more of her writing.
"Charming afternoon treat"
A charming book from Eva Ibbotson, from her frothier side. "Journey to the River Sea" remains my favourite book of hers, but this is a tranquil, discursive, always interesting look at fashionable life in pre-war Vienna. Especially if you are interesting in fashion, Madensky Square is enjoyable and undemanding, and delightfully stylish.
"Not Worth It"
I enjoy Eva Ibbotson's writing, thus I purchased this book, thinking it would be worth while. It wasn't.
I enjoy a number of other books the author has written, however this book is horrible. I listened to the beginning and wasn't impressed. I continued listening - hoping it would get better. It didn't. There's nothing that goes on in the story. She is going through everyday menial tasks and it's explained in the most boring way possible. Reading my meal plan for the week is more interesting. Don't waste your time.
"The Unconventional Happy Ending"
So many books follow a formula of problem - potential solution - lost opportunity - completion. Well, the world does not work that way. Life is made up of small pleasures and small victories. And recognizing that is the difference between a wasted life and a full one. The world is made up of hundreds of thousands of Madensky Squares and that choice is not only split over miles and cultures, it is split over centuries. Go back to a gentler age and meet some unique characters and follow the protagonist as she makes the most of the cards she has been dealt in life.
Ibbotson writes about the kind of person that I am and that she (rest her soul) probably was. We live intensely and feel life both pain and joy more sharply than most. It makes for intense satisfaction and this novel is intensely satisfying.
The narrator. One word describes her impeccable delivery. Mellifluous.
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