How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
The Star of Kazan. Ibbotson, known for ghost-and-witches tales, produced a glowing sport when she wrote Kazan, a novel worthy to be compared with The Secret Garden. Beautifully-written and delightfully-plotted, it's replete with long-lost mothers, Russian jewels, gypsies, castles, despicable villains, Lipizzaner stallions and unforgettable characters. Its virtual obscurity is a disgrace. Circulate this story among all the children you know--but read it yourself, first!
A Countess Below Stairs. This is a curl-up story about a Russian girl whose family must flee their homeland during the Revolution of 1917. In England, Anna hires herself out as a maid to the household of Lord Rupert, a young man just released from an army hospital. The characters who inhabit their neighborhood are a delight. Yes, plot lines are somewhat fudgy, but A Countess Below Stairs is a fairy-tale you can't help loving.