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

You Might Also Like

Review | More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer

My online book group does a Secret Santa exchange every year, and this last year mine knocked it out of the park. She sent me a copy of Brigid Kemmerer's Letters to the Lost along with the most creative accompanying letter and series of clues and mementos tied to a fictional relationship not even wholly of this world. It tied in perfectly with the book and, once I read it, her creativity and extra mile effort meant that much more. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and immediately sought out the companion book featuring Declan's enigmatic best friend Rev. More Than We Can Tell begins shortly after the events of Letters to the Lost and, while Declan and Juliet are in the story, it focuses primarily on Rev and a new character named Emma Blue. I was already half in love with Rev Fletcher from the glimpses we get of him in the first book, so it was in no way surprising that I fell into his story without a hitch. This book can definitely be read as a standalone, though I think it is e…

Blog Tour Review + Giveaway | Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long

I'm delighted to be a part of the blog tour for this first novel in Julie Anne Long's new historical series―The Palace of Rogues. I found my way to Ms. Long's writing in a bit of a piecemeal fashion. Her long-running Pennyroyal Green series is widely beloved and records the various and sundry escapades of the always-scheming, never repentant Eversea and Redmond families. Really, the series is worth the price of admission for the hilarious (and ever-evolving) "Ballad of Colin Eversea" alone (though Colin's is not actually my favorite book). But I've come to believe that this sweeping eleven-book series has something for every reader. You just have to dip your toes in enough times to find your favorites. And once you do, they will become instant and confirmed comfort reads. Spoiler alert: mine are It Happened One Midnightand What I Did for a Duke. I'm sorry, Colin, but the Duke of Falconbridge, you are not. You'll be just fine, though. Madeleine ha…

Illustrated Pretties

I can't resist with these three. I love a good illustrated cover so much, and these three are not only just beautiful but include a couple of delicious retellings, a debut novel, and at least three young women who sound as fierce and determined and real as I could hope for on this International Women's Day. Put them on your calendars. I'm feeling the good feelings.

The Guinevere Deceptionby Kiersten White
This cover, you guys. This cover . . . I love it so much. And I haven't read a good Arthurian retelling in far too long. In this version, Guinevere is not at all what she seems. Summoned by Merlin to keep Arthur safe, she is a changeling who gives everything up to protect Camelot. GOOD YES GOOD.
Due out November 5th

Wicked Foxby Kat Cho
Set in modern day Seoul, this debut features a young woman who is actually an ancient being that must devour the souls of men in order to survive. Matters are significantly complicated when she saves a young man's life and thereby l…