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The Swan House (The Swan House #1)

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3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  2,405 ratings  ·  342 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Leann
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
Leah
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
Patricia
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
Grace
Oh my I was recently asked had a read this book and I had not but had it on my kindle so I started it! If you have not read "The Swan House" you want to! I can honestly say this is one of the best books I have read in a while!

It is a christian, historical novel set in 1962 in Atlanta, Georgia. It is told by a lady who is remembering back when she was 16 years old. Segregation was being broken down, but prejudice and violence against blacks was still very present. Vivid descriptions about the pla
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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
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
Sarah
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
Leah
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
Debbie
"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
Amy
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
KatieDMD


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
House.

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
Corey
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Charmie
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
Nora St Laurent
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 something her privileged life could not give her. And when she seeks his help to uncover a mystery, she leans far more than she ever
...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
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.
Barbara
This story is told from the vantage point of 16-year-old Mary Swan Middleton, daughter of a wealthy Atlanta family in the 1960s. Tragedy strikes early in the book as her mother dies in an airplane accident along with a number of other Atlantans. The accident wounds her family and community deeply.

There are a number of threads in this book which Elizabeth weaves together skilfully:

– Mary’s family and community dealing with their grief

– Mary’s (or Swan, as she’s called most often, or Swannee) ques
...more
Gerri
A good story of finding your faith and the beginnings of the Civil Rights Era. A story of how a teenager in Buckhead finds who she is and how she dealt with the loss of her mother in the Orly plane crash of 1962.

The stages of grief were dealt with and showed the way different people grieve.

All in all I would recommend this book.
Alyssa
It's the 1960's and Mary Swan is the daughter of one of Atlanta's finest, richest families. She's had nothing to worry about, except how to solve her Dare as Wellington's Raven of the year, a tradition that has spanned several decades. But overnight, a tragedy occurs and she is left wondering what is it she must do about the truth that is coming out about the people she loves. Suddenly, she sees a lot more, realizes a lot more about their neighborhood and the people living in it.
The Swan House i
...more
Shirley
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.
Jenna
The Swan House follows Mary Swan through a coming of age journey to meet Christ in an unlikely journey. The plot is interesting and keeps the reader searching for the answers to the mystery introduced in the beginning. Musser weaves Swan symbolism throughout the book and leaves us with vivid word pictures of homes and mansions. A pleasant, light read.

The character development is somewhat weak with an excess of dialogue. As with most Christian fiction, the main character gives her life to Jesus a
...more
Carla Cornwell
I started this book not knowing it was categorized as Christian fiction. I had recently seen a documentary about the Atlanta Arts Society plane crash. I was really enjoying it until it took such a hard turn into Christian fiction. I'm not opposed, but it seemed like she took a good story and forced the religious conversion in it. I just didn't buy it. I started skimming whenever she started preaching. It just seemed to take the story off course. I was ultimately disappointed.

I also thought her f
...more
Rachel Nielsen
I liked this book. I really did. I debated between 3-4. It was just long. And lately I'm in the mood for a quicker read. This book takes place in the 60's in Atlanta. There's a mystery for Mary Swan, a rich white girl, to solve. While she's doing that she learns a lot of things about her recently passed mother. She begins serving lunches in the inner city where she meets a black boy and becomes friends and sees the reality of how life is for them. She also finds Jesus. There was actually a lot a ...more
Andrea
Terrific fictionalized account of what happens to one teenager and her family after a plane crash in Paris. Her mother and more than one hundred prominent Atlantans died on their way home from an art tour in Europe. This actually happened in the 60s. The young teenager navigates her grief and begins to find friends in the African-American community and learn more about her mother's hidden, troubled past. A bit heavy-handed with her faith exploration, but overall a wonderful book about a young pe ...more
Wendy
LOVED this book for so many reasons! Spent my high school years in Atlanta, so I loved reading about the places I grew up with in a historical time frame. I also**love** the themes the author touches on: embracing our diversity, stretching yourself to reach people outside your comfort zone, and how we're all one in Christ. And, I loved the time period of the 1960's & all the social change going on. Plus, I think that the author did a fantastic job of handling the main character's spiritual j ...more
Joan
Very well done

I needed a good book to help get through the cold weather recently. And this book certainly fit the bill.

I grew up during the '60s and could relate to some of the events in the book. There is great character development here; very smoothly done.

There are unexpected turns in the story line that kept me interested. The way I know whether a book was good is when I catch myself thinking of the people in the book and wonder how they are doing now.

I certainly do recommend this book.
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187026
ELIZABETH MUSSER, an Atlanta native, writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France. Elizabeth’s highly acclaimed, best-selling novel, The Swan House, was named one of Amazon’s Top Christian Books of the Year and one of Georgia’s Top Ten Novels of the Past 100 Years (Georgia Backroads, 2009). All of Elizabeth’s novels have been translated into multiple la ...more
More about Elizabeth Musser...

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