Skip to main content

A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson

Once again Ibbotson shows how apt she is at expressing just how her character is feeling, in such a way that the reader sets the book down in her lap and sighs, "Yes. That is exactly how it feels."
She stood for a long time looking at the verses in which Emily Dickinson had chronicled her heartbreak. Loneliness had taught Harriet that there was always someone who understood--it was just that so very often they were dead, and in a book.
I remember feeling that way when I was a teenager. The first time I read Middlemarch, passages from A Tale of Two Cities, most of Shakespeare. Certainly Dickinson. The feeling of making contact on the page with someone long gone, at a time when it is so difficult making any contact at all in real life.

When we first meet Harriet, it is indeed difficult to find an aspect of her life that is not dreary and isolated. Kept on an unbelievably tight rein by her scholar father and spinster aunt, her only outlet is the weekly ballet lessons that have somehow slipped under the radar. When a talent scout offers her the chance to join a touring ballet company on its way to Brazil, Harriet can't sit back and watch life pass her by once more. Escaping from her father, her insect-obsessed intended, and England in general, she sails to the Amazon and into another life.

In Manaus, Harriet finds friendship, hard work, inspiration, and Rom--the mysterious and wealthy expat who owns the Teatro Amazonas where the company performs. Ibbotson's novels are all about home. About finding it somewhere you least expected it, about returning to it again after you thought all was lost. Harriet is, without a doubt, the most beleaguered of all her heroines, and this tale is a particularly sweet one because it is about a young woman trying so hard to do the right thing and keep a grasp on happiness at the same time, and a man who is afraid to hold onto hope when it is offered him for what, he is certain, is the last time.

Links
Bookshelves of Doom Review
Jennie's B(ook)log Review
The Ravenous Reader Review

Comments

  1. I love Eva Ibbotson! She was a favorite when I was younger, and I had no idea she had something new out. I'll be checking this out from the library asap.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I only discovered her this year, Em. And I am so glad I did. This one is probably tied with A Song for Summer for my favorite of hers.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Angie's Best Books of 2016

Let's just lay our cards on the table, shall we, and agree that, on the whole, 2016 was an abysmal year.
And I'd just like to personally invite it not to let the door hit it on the way out.
This is me being as charitable as I can possibly be at this point. 
That said, I want to send a glorious shout out to the wonderful books that have come out this past year, and to all the authors (and readers) who have not given in to the anxiety, depression, anger, and fear that I know so many of us have felt throughout the past twelve months (or more). It is the last day of the year, and I have poured all of my gratitude (and hope for a better one to come) into my annual list of my favorite reads of the year. Just 17 this year. Fewer than the past few years, which indicates a healthy dose of necessary rereading in this year that has been what it was, as well as the fact that I just didn't get to as many new releases.


(in the order in which I read them)
The Thirteenth Earlby Evelyn Pry…

My Year of Georgette Heyer | Book the First: The Convenient Marriage

This is not a drill. I repeat, THIS IS NOT A DRILL. I believe I am, in fact, upon the brink of accomplishing something that I have been meaning to do for years. I want you all to be the first to know that I just read my first very Georgette Heyer. That's right. I actually did it. After years of promising myself and countless others (many of you) that I would do it, I finally managed it! And I can tell that I'm about to dive headlong into a full-fledged binge.

After consulting all of your past comments on which Heyers are your favorites and why (and after some serious counsel from Beth and a well-timed trip to our local Barnes & Noble), I chose to start with The Convenient Marriage. I had no idea it would turn out to contain, without question, one of my favorite proposal scenes ever. The kind of proposal scene that makes you feel like nothing could ever go wrong after it. It takes place very early on, and it made me laugh and sigh repeatedly with delight. I know I will be …