The Morning Gift by Eva Ibbotson
Published September 6, 2007
I’ve read a few books in the past from Eva before that I liked but I also read a few where I had picked up and then deemed boring so I dropped them. So I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this one. All of her synopsis always looked promising so I couldn’t use that to gauge whether or not this particular book will be good until I picked it up. I have to say, I would place this book somewhere in the middle.
The beginning started a bit slow but once you got past some of the world and character building, it picked up a little. Unfortunately the ending was just dreadful. In a way, it felt rushed and awkward. The little plot twist towards the end wasn’t particularly interesting nor did it make sense. I realized after finishing the book that the main reason why the book in general was so hard to read was due to the writing and language. Actually now that I think about it, all of Eva’s books are written in an older language/intonation that people in this generation either really have to focus on the words or it’ll go completely over their heads.
The characters, Ruth and Quin, didn’t seem to have any sort of chemistry. I couldn’t pick up any signs from either of them that there was any sort of attraction especially not from Ruth. She was always like “don’t worry, Quin, I will stay out of your way, no problem”. And Quin didn’t show any interest until towards the end when he felt jealousy toward Heini, Ruth’s finance. And then all of a sudden, they were talking about their love for each other. I was sitting there like, “wait, what? Let me read this again.” But nothing. I reread the few pages and still couldn’t decipher when and how they suddenly realized they loved each other. IT WAS SO STRANGE.
As for Heini, Ruth’s finance, he was a real pain the ass. The way he went around and “suggested” things without trying to be rude but still being super selfish was so ridiculous. There was this one scene in particular where he composed a letter to Ruth’s family about how he requires a piano by the time he arrives. Do note that this was after they all had to run from Vienna, to escape from Hitler’s clutches, with only one suitcase so there was little to no money and they were all crammed into a small apartment. However, he was like “I understand there are financial difficulties so I do not require you to buy one, just simply rent one. But I prefer this particular kind of piano. A grand piano would be nice if you have space otherwise a standing one is okay too.” I was like, is this guy for real? And the fact that her family took all of it without hesitation. I’m pretty sure if it was anyone else, they would have objected to some degree.
Anyways, I really, really disliked Heini. There was this other girl, Verena Plackett, who was almost on the same level as selfishness and ridiculousness as Heini. With that being said, the other characters, especially Pilly, was quite interesting and sweet. However, I think the other characters weren’t as developed as the two annoying ones were.
Overall, while the premise was good, I think the execution and the flow of the story needed a lot of work. The characters overall were either not well written or too annoying. I probably won’t read any more of Eva’s novels since now that I think of it, I really dislike the way she writes. I went back to check how many books I had picked up and gave up and it was more than the number of books I finished and liked. It was too bad, really.