At first Tally doesn't want to go to the boarding school called Delderton. But she soon discovers that it is a wonderful place where freedom and self-expression are valued. After seeing a travelogue about Bergania, Tally wants nothing more than to visit this peaceful and serene European country and catch a glimpse of the noble King Johannes, who bravely refuses to bend to the Nazis' demands. When Tally finds out that the 1939 international folk dancing festival will be held in Bergania, she organizes a ragtag dance troupe so that the school can participate.
It is there that she befriends Karil, the crown prince, who would love nothing more than to have ordinary friends and attend a school like Delderton. When Karil's father is assassinated, it is up to Tally and her friends to help Karil escape the Nazis and save him from the bleak future that he has inherited.
Eva Ibbotson is one of my favorite Authors - her stories have always been interesting and deal greatly with WWII. Her writing style is also very enjoyable and not overly modern. The style of this particular book was fun. It was slightly light-hearted and comical, but serious when it needed to be.
Tally is yet another female protagonist that I have grown to like. Her stubbornness does not get in the way of anything or cause problems like most stubborn heroines. And she adapts to situations quickly. All of the other characters are just as likable - or irritating, according to how the Reader is supposed to react to them. Carlotta put me on edge, just as she is supposed to.
I must confess, though, that Kevin Hawkes's illustrations do not go with this particular story. They give it a childish feel, taking away from some of the more serious situations. Just as Eva Ibbotson's descriptions of the two hit men that the Gestapo hire to capture Karil. They add a flavor of silliness and childishness that is out of place for both the subject and the storyline.
Despite these minor complaints, I loved The Dragonfly Pool, and will definitely be adding it to my collection.
Star Rating: 4/5 (really liked it)