Enchanting and imaginative, The Star of Kazan is one of those rare books that I love because of how beautifully written it is. The descriptions of Vienna (where the author herself grew up in) are spectacular. Very rarely do I read descriptions of places and find myself in them without even trying. As to the story itself, historical fiction is one of my favourites, and even though it was a bit predictable (perhaps because I am slightly older than the target age group), it was engaging and I found it hard to put the book down. You know you’ve found a good book when you don’t need to force yourself to continue reading it! The following is a spoiler-free review.

A book cover of the star of kazan by eva ibbotson for a book review.

Book Blurb: In 1896, in a pilgrim church in the Alps, an abandoned baby girl is found by a cook and a housemaid. They take her home, and Annika grows up in the servants’ quarters of a house belonging to three eccentric Viennese professors. She is happy there but dreams of the day when her real mother will come to find her. And sure enough, one day a glamorous stranger arrives at the door. After years of guilt and searching, Annika’s mother has come to claim her daughter, who is in fact a Prussian aristocrat and whose true home is a great castle. But at crumbling, spooky Spittal Annika discovers that all is not as it seems in the lives of her new-found family . . .Eva Ibbotson’s hugely entertaining story is a timeless classic for readers young and old.

The Star of Kazan is a story about a girl called Annika who is trying to find her way in the world. Although she faces some hardships in the story, I would overall describe it as a feel-good novel because that is how I felt at the end of the book. The characterisation of her gypsy friend Zed, and the three professors were particularly excellent. I really enjoyed how unconventional the professors were with their set routines and interests. Annika herself is kind, though not as rebellious and spirited as I would have liked her to be. This is one criticism that I have as I felt she was a bit ungrateful towards Ellie and Sigrid who found and raised her; I expected more loyalty on her part. However, what she lacks in, her friend Pauline makes up for with her bravery and fierce nature despite her agoraphobia (fear of crowded places).

Some of the highlights in the book were the Giant Wheel and the Imperial Spanish Riding School. I would also highly recommend it for food lovers; I absolutely loved the descriptions of the Viennese recipes for meals and desserts. Simply scrumptious! If you are looking for a historical read with a good storyline that is suitable for both adults and children then I would say go ahead and read this book.

Rating: 5/5


12 thoughts on “Book Review: The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson

    1. I really liked the descriptions of Vienna. You can really tell that the author knows what she’s talking about from her own experience of the city. It’s originally intended as a children’s novel but it is a classic that many adults love too! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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