Book Review | The Reluctant Heiress

the reluctant heiress review

Title: The Reluctant Heiress (Previously published as Magic Flutes)
Author: Eva Ibbotson
Publisher: Speak
Date Published: 1982
Genre: Young Adult/Teens/Historical Romance

"Breathe?" said Tessa, shocked. "I don't need to breathe when I'm with you."

The Reluctant Heiress Synopsis

Being an heiress in 1920s Austria with nothing but a broken-down castle to your name and nary a penny in your purse could be frustrating for anyone but the Princess Theresa-Maria of Pfaffenstein. “Tessa,” however, is thrilled with her situation, as it allows her to concentrate on her love of the arts—and no one in the Viennese opera company need know that their delightful and charming under-wardrobe mistress is really a princess. But when the dashing self-made millionaire Guy Farne arrives at the opera in search of suitable entertainment for his high society guests, Tessa realizes that there may be more to life—and love—than just music. But while the attraction between them in undeniable, Guy’s insufferable snob of a fiancĂ©e only solidifies Tessa’s determination to keep her true identity a secret. Yet, after a chance meeting with the handsome Englishman, Tessa’s reserve begins to melt, and she starts to wonder if it’s not too late for a fairytale ending. Source: Amazon

My Thoughts

I'm not a fan of historical romance genre but somehow this book finally caught my attention after few pages. The writing style is a bit difficult to read for me but I managed to follow the rhythm of the book. The story gets interesting and enjoyable even though I get bored in the beginning. The way the author describe everything will get into your mind. I am very curious to know how does Pfaffenstein castle look like so I Google it and HERE is how it looks like! As for my opinion, the exciting scene starts when Guy meets Tessa without even knowing that she is a princess in disguise.

I love how the author made them very humble and down to earth characters. Tessa decides to sell her castle and live as a commoner - hiding her identity - and working as a under-wardrobe mistress for a small opera company. Regardless of her royal status, She doesn't care what kind of life she has as long as she could serve music and art to people. While Guy Farne, a self-made millionaire, is very kind and patience not until someone hurt his pride. His fiancee, Nerine, is the opposite of Tessa. And Prince Maximilian of Spittau who is fond of Tessa, very determined to propose her because he loves her for real - not because his mom wants to take her for granted. It's obvious that greed has lost in this book except for Nerine who lives a luxury and snobbish life when she engaged to Guy. I hate her for taking Guy for granted, for disgracing Guy's foster mother and Guy, Guy shouldn't spoil her much!

The ending is written perfectly as nobody gets hurt in order to claim their love from each other. The author has put a great idea how to make someone leave on their own and find their love which blew me away because I never thought it would be like that. A wise decision, I'd say.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves or want to try getting into historical romance!

Favourite Quotes

"It is a fearful thing to love what time can touch" - Tessa (pg.294)
"Nerine has enough jewels to sink a battleship!" - Guy Farne (pg.293)




  1. Haii echaa. The last book that i read was my student's exercise book hahahah

  2. Its a historical genre! I have been wanting to try read this genre but couldn't find one that caught my interest, it seems that I shall try to read this one! :)

    Thank you, Echa! The review very convincing for me to want to read :D

  3. rajin eh molah book review. :D
    i do take a lot of time when reading english novel :)
    btw, nice review! hehehe

  4. Mun nangga cover, nang kacak jak. Tp mcm best juak novel tok. Hehe

  5. Endingnya,, Tessa dengan Guy ke? Hihi. Nak jugak tahu ending. Kalau buku ni historical, means writing style dia pun berbeza drpd YA novel yang lain kan? Ada gaya macam zaman dulu ke writing style dia?

  6. You did a good review and from this I'm not that keen to read the book. I guess romantic stories would never attract me lol. You got a new follower!

  7. I love historical fictions and this book seems interesting! And now I have another book in my TBR piles, thanks to your nice review :)


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