Star of Kazan

The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson (0-525-47347-5)
This charming book reminds me of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Aiken. It has many of the same old-fashioned features filled with horse-drawn carriages, orphans, frightening boarding schools, and brave children. But it differs in other ways. It has warm-hearted, kind adults, and the gorgeous setting of Vienna.
Annika was left in a church as a tiny infant and found by Ellie and Sigrid who took her home and adopted her. Ellie and Sigrid work as servants for three professors, so Annika was brought up used to hard work, but also surrounded by great food and love. She dreams of her mother coming and finding her, and one day it happens. Her mother, a German aristocrat, arrives and takes Annika off to her castle in Germany. But the castle is falling apart, there is very little food, and few servants. Annika yearns to return to the warmth of her Vienna home, but refuses to leave her new-found family. But all is not as it seems, and Annika must sort out the truth in the middle of all of the lies she is being told.
This would be a great read aloud for a classroom. It has adventure and bravery on the part of both the boys and girls in the story. Enjoy!