Notes on Books: The Dragonfly Pool by Eva Ibbotson

Children in an idyllic setting, an experimental school, teachers with an innate understanding of a child’s mind, an Eastern European setting, kings and princes, a man who disappears a lot, a strong central character who is a child, World War II, Hitler, London, acts of bravery, left of centre thoughts. Does this all sound familiar? No, it’s not her other novel A Song for Summer but reminds me a lot of it. It’s Eva Ibbotson doing what she does best. The Dragonfly Pool seems like a raw version of A Song for Summer but it retains that charm of growing up during the Second World War that is so uniquely captured by Ibbotson.

This is not a place for a summary. So, I will tell you what I like about the book. The utterly delightful turn of phrase, the deep insight into human character and motivations, the Ruritanian setting, an adventure that is as much internal as external. You can find all the highlights of an Eva Ibbotson novel for young adults. If that isn’t reason enough to pick it up, I don’t know what is!

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