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. Anonymous11:25 PM

    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

You Might Also Like

Review | To Sir Phillip, With Love by Julia Quinn

The first book to make it onto my best books I've read so far this year list was actually a surprise. Thanks to Bridgerton's massive success, Julia Quinn's name is everywhere these days. And I'm chuffed about the whole thing. That said, my Quinn reading up to this point has been sporadic at best. And I'd only read two novels in the actual Bridgerton series. So I decided to rectify that at the beginning of the year by starting with Eloise's story (the fifth in the series) because she is my uncontested favorite of the siblings. I had no idea what her story held, but I knew she would be a compelling lead. I also love the title and the role that letters play in the story.   Eloise Bridgerton is tired of everything. She is tired of the endless inane whirl of life among the ton. She is tired of being paraded around and forced to dance and converse with all the wrong men. But most of all she is tired of being suddenly and unexpectedly alone after her best friend Penelo

Interview with Diana Peterfreund + Rampant Giveaway!

Ever since I fell in love with Diana Peterfreund 's Secret Society Girl series last year, I've been hoping I'd get the chance to interview her here. Tomorrow marks the release of her new novel, Rampant , and let me tell you that you have not read a book like this before. You can read my review here , but all you really need to know is that it's a story about killer unicorns and the young women who hunt them. You want to read it now, don't you? Oh, yeah, and it's YA and the first in a series! To celebrate the release, Diana graciously answered a few of my most burning questions. As she is always a delight, I know you'll enjoy them as much as I did. First things first: When did the idea for Rampant first hit you and what (if anything) did you know right off the bat? In early 2005, just after selling Secret Society Girl , I had this dream of being chased by a very dangerous unicorn. I woke up and went to go look it up to see if I could figure out the meani

Interview with Alexandra Bracken + Brightly Woven Giveaway!

I fell in love with the cover of Alexandra Bracken 's debut novel-- Brightly Woven --last fall and the scant synopses I could find at the time certainly piqued my interest. After managing to get my hands on an ARC, I found myself surprised and pleased with this unique fantasy. You can read my review here . As the release date approached, I invited Alex to participate in an interview and giveaway here on the site and, despite her crazy busy schedule, she kindly accepted. Enjoy! First things first: When did the idea for Brightly Woven first hit you and what (if anything) did you know right off the bat? I remember the exact moment it hit me—what I was doing, who I was talking to, what song was playing on iTunes.  :)  I had just come back from Winter Break my sophomore year in college and was sitting on my bed chatting with my mom.  Sophomore year was pretty remarkable in terms of the insane weather that we had in Virginia (where I was in school) but it had also been a bizarre year in