Title: The Star of Kazan
Author: Eva Ibbotson
What it's about: So the story takes place in Vienna around 1908, I think. Historical fiction. Anyway, the main character is a girl named Annika. She's an orphan, and she was found by two women, a cook named Ellie and a maid named Sigrid. These two work for three professors, all siblings, who share a house. Anyway, the professors let Ellie and Sigrid keep the baby Annika, and as Annika grows up, she has a good life. When she turns twelve, however, this is all shaken up by the arrival of a woman who claims to be her mother.
What I thought: This story is cute but not cloying. It remembers the past very fondly, painting a grand picture of Vienna in a peaceful hayday. The characters are all very nice, and you want to cheer for them. Annika's a good kid, but she's not some Pollyanna, which is good. You know, sympathetic, but with her share of flaws, too. And the story's neat because there's some mystery to it. The attention to detail is nice as well.
Overall: May be a children's book, but anyone can enjoy it.