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 is undeniable, Guy’s insufferable snob of a fiancée 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?

“Then she managed, "If I cannot be anything else… could I be your Star Sister? Could I at least be that?”

Guy dug his nails into his palms. Everything in him rose in protest at the fey, romantic conceit. He did not want her in the heavens, linked to him by some celestial whimsy, but here and now in the flesh and after the death of the flesh, her hand in his as they rose from graves like these when the last trump sounded.

“Yes,” he managed to say. “You can be my Star Sister. You can at least be that.”

–The Reluctant Heiress, Eva Ibbotson