The Swan House (The Swan House, #1)
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The Swan House (The Swan House #1)

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  1,925 ratings  ·  293 reviews
Mary Swan Middleton has always taken for granted the advantages of her family's wealth. But a tragedy that touches all
of Atlanta sends her reeling in grief. When the family maid challenges her to reach out to the less fortunate as a way to ease her own pain, Mary Swan meets Carl--and everything changes. For although Carl is her opposite in nearly every way, he has somethi...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published July 1st 2001 by Bethany House Publishers (first published 2001)
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I knew that if I searched long and hard enough that I would eventually find good Christian fiction. And I finally found it in The Swan House. So, it's a bit perplexing to come to Good Reads to find so many negative reviews. Was this book heavy on the Christianity? Um, yes, it's Christian fiction. Was it heavy on historical detail? Yeah, it's an historical novel. Did it sound like it was from a 16 y.o.'s viewpoint? Yes- because it was.

Maybe it boils down to this: The rest of the reviewers have n...more
Great Christian Fiction! Wow, It was such a moving story. I had to get past the way Musser had the African-American's speak in the south. I don't think she really captured it, but she did well enough to keep me sitting in for a very long book. I enjoyed the book. I loved the story of Mary Swan and the her self discovery in God. I loved how Musser tied God into the book without it being religious, but all about a real relationship with God. I was able to be encouraged in my own walk with God whil...more
THE SWAN HOUSE is historical, Christian fiction & a 'coming of age' novel. The main character, Mary Swan, is a rich, white girl living in the 60's in Atlanta. Her adolescence is marked by the tragic loss of her mother in a plane crash that takes the lives of many of Atlanta's finest citizens. Between her mother's death & a mystery she is 'dared' to solve by the private school she attends, Mary Swan learns about prejudice, her mother's flaws & pain, & faith.

My favorite books are...more
Jennifer Lindsay
Jul 31, 2010 Jennifer Lindsay rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jennifer by: Kay Barrett
What a rich, rich novel. My tears were flowing at the end. So many themes and emotions: loss, love, faith, race, civil rights in the 60's, poverty, affluence, mental illness, pain, joy. A very rich coming of age story of a pretty complex character in 16 year old Mary Swan. I was surprised at the rich theme of faith, spirituality, and prayer. And I was moved by the references of old Atlanta and about race relations at that time, especially through the eyes of a girl who didn't really notice race...more
Melissa Meadows
I cannot believe I just found this book. Halfway through the book I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that it would be one of my favorite books of all time. I am usually not a fan of books that have sad elements in them, but Ms. Musser's writing is so engaging and rich, I could not put The Swan House down. The story also convicted me on a personal level and had me thinking how comfortable I live when there are so many people living homeless and hungry. It gave me a desire to want to stretch my han...more
This book was a choice for my book club. While the storyline contained much promise, the book is a huge disappointment. It is set in the early 60s in Atlanta, Georgia, in the well-to-do Buckhead area. The civil rights movement is meant to be a main part of the story, and the main character awakens to racial hatred in her community. It also deals with the subject of death and the grief of a teenage girl who loses her mother in a tragic airplane accident, the details of which were based on a true...more
The Swan House by Elizabeth Musser was truly one of the best books I have read. Musser is new author to me, and I have enjoyed both of her books that I have read so far. Her characters are very rich, and the storyline is is interesting enough to hook my attention from the beginning.

The book is about the search for truth. Mary Swan, the heroine in the book begins searching for truth to solve a dare, but in the process, she finds truth about her family, her community, and finally she comes to unde...more
"Swan House" is a historical set in 1962 in Atlanta, Georgia. Segregation was being broken down, but prejudice and violence against blacks was still very present. Vivid descriptions about the place, time, and people brought the story alive in my imagination.

The characters were engaging, had depth, and reacted to things in realistic ways. The low level of suspense came from relationship tensions--romantic, family, and racial. While not depressing, it's not a light-hearted story. Mary Swan goes th...more
I'm a little conflicted on my rating for this book. I really liked it, and was surprised to like it. But I wonder if I would have enjoyed the story as much as I did, if it didn't take place in Atlanta. It was very cool to be able to relate so strongly to all the familiar surroundings of Atlanta that play such an important role in the story. I have to say I learned more about the history of Atlanta and the origins and histories of so many of the famous landmarks, than I have learned on my own in...more
Linda C.
The Swan House has a title and a cover that drew me in. I imagined this story to be about an old, possibly deserted mansion with secrets to hide. This book has plenty of secrets but none were about the house. In fact the house really didn't have much to do with the story. I felt the title was out of place.

The Swan House is a Christian fiction novel. If I had known that I might never have bought it. Not that I'm not a Christian, I am but it's not the kind of fiction I typically care to read. And...more

I really enjoyed reading this book. I downloaded another book that I
had been waiting a long time to read, and chose to continue The Swan

There was a lot that I liked about the story, and a little that I did
not care too much for. I'll get the negative out of the way first: I
felt that the introduction to Mary Swan as a parent, talking about her
story and her life to her daughter was unnecessary to the plot of the
story. Honestly I could barely remember how the book even started,
because once I g...more
Jennie Helderman
Had my book club not chosen this book, I would not have read it. The genre is Christian romance, one I had rejected without ever giving it a try. To my surprise, I found the story engaging all the way through its 400 pages. Guess that rattles my biases.

This is a coming of age story of a 16-year-old Mary Swan Middleton whose mother is killed in the Orly plane crash which took over 100 Atlanta civic leaders in 1962. In her grief, Mary Swan turns to helping at a black church, becomes romantically a...more
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Susan Poling
I enjoyed this book primarily because of the story's location (Alanta), the depiction of racial complexities in the early 60's and the stories connection to the horrific plane crash that killed so many of the city's wealthy, buckhead couples who were so active in helping the growth of the arts at a time when the city was just starting to grow. If those don't get'cha, perhaps the facts that it is a story of a young girl in H.S. who must survive the loss of her mother(an artist who died in the cra...more
Stopped reading page 194.

There were so many aspects of this book that should have been able to make a good story but it just couldn't perform. The setting was Atlanta early 1960's, during the civil rights movement, the main character (Mary Swan Middleton) is a rich teenage girl from an old family in Atlanta. Throw in the 1962 Orly Airport crash in France that ends up killing over a hundred people from Atlanta, an Edgar Allen Poe dare, and an art caper and almost 200 pages in you should not be bo...more
This story made me laugh and it made me cry. I loved the protagonist and her innocence on some things and wanted to scream at her at other times. The story is set in the South during the 1960s. I really got wrapped up in the racial segregation issues and could understand the city's devastation after the Orley plane crash - Atlanta's own "9/11" in terms of affect on the city. The Raven Dare was an interesting story and concept and I can't stop thinking about it! Highly recommend to anyone who lik...more
Mary Hamilton
The Swan House is a lovely Southern tale of a young girl's coming of age during the civil rights movement of the early 1960's. Mary Swan Middleton is a 16 year-old girl from a "fine, Atlanta family." Through her eyes, we see the effects of hatred and discrimination, not only against blacks but also against Jews, and people lower on the socio-economic scale, and people with mental health issues. The author does a wonderful job of weaving tension all the way through the book, and her characters ar...more
When I bought this book I really did not realize that it was so heavy into a religious theme however there was so much history and factual information about the city of Atlanta and the area of Buckhead in particular and the art world of the High Museum that it was really quite good. It is about a girl relating her story of how she lost her mother in a plane crash ( and in fact there was such a tradgey) and how her mother as an artist was tormented with mental illness. The time frame is during th...more
Colleen Crocker
good, I like the history. and since I lived outside atlanta for a year I liked that I'd been all the places and knew some of it. But it was a little wordy where need not be, although the last 100 pages made me cry through them and I liked it a lot.
The Swan House is a story about a young girl named Mary Swan growing up in Atlanta in a wealthy family. One day her parents and several other members of the art society decide to take a trip to Paris. Mary's father thought it best that they fly seperately for the sake of the children. It seems that unfortunately his intuition was right because on the flight home their mother dies in a plane crash at the Orly airport. Mary Swan struggles with her loss, but when her family maid suggests volunteeri...more
Nyssa Silvester
Like many readers have already mentioned, the premise was more satisfying than the execution. The Swan House is set in Atlanta in the 1960s and purportedly examines the racial tensions in the city through the perspective of a teenage girl from a wealthy family. Mary Swan Middleton learns the errors of her prejudices through her service in inner-city Atlanta and also discovers a newly awakened Christian faith. A book with good intentions, but with major flaws.

First of all, Musser loves to talk ab...more
This book took me FOREVER to read. I would like to blame it on the fact that school started and I didn't have as much time to devote to it, but frankly I think it was just too long and not interesting enough. The premise had such great potential, but the actual events were too long, too drawn out, and written in such annoying great detail that it was too difficult to enjoy.

So basically you have this rich young girl in Atlanta in the 60s, so there is a LOT of racial turmoil in the background and...more
This was a fantastic historical fiction novel set in the early 1960's in Atlanta, Georgia. In the beginning of the story, 2 important events which occur on the same day set the stage for the rest of the novel. Mary Swan Middleton, who attends a private school and lives in the wealthy Buckhead area of Atlanta, has been chosen for a very special honor at her school. This honor, the Dare, involves solving a challenge between the end of her sophomore year of high school and the Mardi Gras celebratio...more
I'll preface this by saying that I know Christian fiction has undergone some major changes in the last ten years, and this book came out in '01. I didn't pay attention to the release date when I picked it up because I liked the premise. I wasn't disappointed. The writing is beautiful and drew me in to the story at once. I read the book in a few days, however, I do have to say I skipped a lot of it. Toward the middle of the book, the author gets very heavy-handed with the Jesus talk. Pages and pa...more
I loved that this book takes place in Atlanta; namely Buckhead, Grant Park, and Midtown. Being familiar with the backdrop of the novel made this more bearable to read. If this book had taken place anywhere else I would never had picked it up. But I loved whenever Mary Swan would talk about the Varsity or St. Philip's Cathedral or Oakland Cemetery. There is somethings special about reading a fiction book and knowing exactly what the author is describing. That doesn't happen very often so it was f...more
This book was recommended to me by a fellow plane passenger. It is well-written and has a very interesting plot. The book takes place in 1962 in Atlanta during a time when desegregation was a big issue. The teen in the story has to deal with the tragic death of her mother. Her maid introduces her to "the other side of town" to help her get her mind distracted from her own troubles. There are many threads to the plot including the teen's search for the truth about her mother. This book is publish...more
The Swan House wasn't what I expected after reading the back cover of the book, however, I was pleasantly surprised. The story is placed in Atlanta, GA, during the mid 1960's and addresses growing up in the middle of the civil rights movement, but doesn't loose the feel of being an interesting novel to become a history book. I found that while the book's reading level could be an easy, quick read, I wanted to read it in multiple settings so I could consider things more and take a break from the...more
Julie Nagy
This book is a true find. I found myself totally enthralled with the character of Mary Swan and her struggles to find her way in the midst of the turbulent times of the early sixties in the segregated south. Faced with terrible tragedy, the main character seeks truth, questions the status quo, and in the process finds herself and her faith. This was a wonderful read and I highly recommend it.
Taylor Moore
The Swan House is a trajic book about Mary Swan Middleton. She and her younger brother loose their mother while she and her father are away on an art convention in Paris. Mary Swan's mother took a different flight than her father because he needed to stay behind for a few more days, and he saw as the plane his wife was on exploded. Everyone was killed. This book shows Mary Swan's struggle for happiness while she is in highschool. She finds happiness in helping underprivledged teens and children....more
This book was a page-turner, but lacked a certain something to give it more than 3 stars. It was a great storyline, but the narrative naiveté was a little grating sometimes. I mean, this was supposed to be a 60-ish woman reflecting back on her 16-year-old self, but all we got was a VERY naive 16-year-old, without any of the reflected wisdom of time and experience. If the author hadn't set it up to be a retelling by the older narrator, it would have been easier to swallow. I find that often autho...more
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ELIZABETH MUSSER, an Atlanta native and the bestselling author of The Swan House, is a novelist who writes what she calls ‘entertainment with a soul.’ Her Secrets of the Cross trilogy will be published in the summer of 2012: Two Crosses, Two Testaments and the long-awaited finale, Two Destinies.

For over twenty years, Elizabeth and her husband, Paul, have been involved in missions work with Intern...more
More about Elizabeth Musser...
The Sweetest Thing The Dwelling Place (The Swan House, #2) Words Unspoken Searching for Eternity Two Crosses: A Novel (The Secrets of the Cross Trilogy #1)

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