The Swan Maiden
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The Swan Maiden

3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  1,367 ratings  ·  120 reviews
In the quiet hour before dawn,anything can happen. Doucette can dream of being a creature of flight and magic, of wearing a swan skin like her older sisters. But she must run the castle household while her sisterslearn to weave spells.Her dream of flying is exactly that . . . until the day she discovers her own hidden birthright. Sudden, soaring freedom—it is a wish come t...more
Paperback, 299 pages
Published September 30th 2008 by Square Fish (first published August 7th 2007)
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I enjoyed this book, though it was nothing spectacular. It held a sense of "old fairy tales" for me--the traditional ones that have a lot of magic and wonder but rather flat characters. Some of the descriptions in "Swan Maiden" are exquisite, and I enjoyed the attention to the French countryside (right down to the herbs and flowers) and the sense of magic that flowed through our heroine, Doucette. However, I did not really sympathize with Doucette--or any of the characters, for that matter; they...more
Bleh. Stupid. No thanks. Not recommended. The main character isn't a character at all. She only reacts to what goes on around her, and never consistently, only in ways that will forward the very tenuous plot. All of the characters are this way. They only do things to make the plot move. When the plot requires them to be nice, they're nice. When it requires them to be beastly, they're beastly. The only interesting thing is seen coming a mile off, and is rather a disappointment when it does come....more
Jane G Meyer
Dec 17, 2007 Jane G Meyer rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: wouldn't really...
Shelves: middlegrade
There were parts of this book that were lovely--a fast moving plot and some interesting description, but there are better books in this genre that I would recommend... I was pulled to the cash register by the cover, but there were holes, and the most ridiculous scene with one of the main characters, Jaume, walking on his hands, playing a pipe. I read the passage tens of times trying to make out how it might be possible--being a gymnast, I know you can't walk on your hands and play a tune on the...more
I don't know if it's fair that I rate this book. I didn't read it all. At the begining it was similar to Goose Girl, so I was pretty sure that I would like it. However it was so slow that I started skipping pages and then chapters. I did read the last chapter and I was glad I didn't waste my time reading it all. I suggest someone else read it and then you can tell me what a wonderful book it was and maybe I'll try reading it again.
Brandy Painter
Review originally posted here.

The Swan Maiden by Heather Tomlinson is a novel that uses the idea of a girl who can transform into a swan via a magical swan skin. This is not a direct retelling of any specific swan maiden tale, but uses elements prevalent in several, and sets it against a backdrop of medieval France. It has many fairy tale staples in it. The impoverished man seeking to perform a task to gain the hand of a maiden, magic, transformations, enchantresses. If you go into it keeping in...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Doucette is the youngest sister. Her two older sisters are mysterious and powerful swan maidens, who can transform themselves into swans at will. Sorcery is their birthright, and Doucette longs to be like them. She may have more magic than she ever imagined...

Heather Tomlinson once again shamlessly uses French as a crutch in her fantasy world, but this time it is not so painful because she claims to have based her story off of a French fairy tale to begin with. If so, it doesn't have the continu...more
Her sisters are swan maidens, but she is not; magicless and condemned to learn to be a castle chatelaine under her mother's stern eye, and to marry well at her parents' command, unlike her sisters who have free choice. But what if everything she has been taught is a lie? What of the young shepherd who is so kind to her? What will she make of her future, and will she succumb to the temptations of power?

This was actually quite well-written and I enjoyed the characters, especially as they were much...more
K.W. McCabe
The Swan Maiden by Heather Tomlinson 3.5 out of 5 stars

Doucette Aigleron is trapped. Trapped by her mother, trapped by her position but, most of all, trapped because she has no wings.

Her two sisters, Cecilia and Azelais, are swan maidens: Sorceresses who can use their swan feathers to change into swans as well as perform many kinds of magic.

Each year Doucette must stay home and learn how to run a household while her sisters fly off to their aunt, the Queen of Birds, to learn the magical arts. Ev...more
This was overall a hit and miss book for me. Upon first glance, I was instantly drawn to it by its lovely cover. I love how the artist plays on the human and swan form. It is beautiful. However, once I got into the book, I learned quickly that covers can be deceiving. Within a few pages, I was overwhelmed with Tomlinson's use of French terminology. It is everywhere. And while I applaud the author for attempting to make this book as authentic as possible, since the original tale has French origin...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I was really into the beginning pages of this book, it had that certain fairy tale feel and I linked it with something written by Shannon Hale. But then there was a twist in the plot and I knew that the rest of the book would be dealing with that aspect. I was disappointed with how the story went, and I was almost compelled to take out my laptop and write out the way it should have ended. I probably would have ended the story in a different spot and I most definitely would have cut out some scen...more
Doucette is the youngest of three sisters; her elder two are swan maidens, able to assume the form of a swan and perform High Magics. They are vain, selfish, and unkinds. Doucette is condemned by her mundane nature to be a chastelain- able to direct her servants in all their work and thus capably run a home and a demesne. This is a much more practical and useful ability, but the reality is that everyone bosses her around; she dreams of better things, a bigger world, she envies her sisters their...more
Alana Kelly
As the summary says, The Swan Maiden is about a girl named Doucette. The youngest of three and the daughter of a Comte, Doucette dreams of being a Swan Maiden and weaving spells like her sisters. Unfortunately for her, Doucette is instead doomed to be a Chastelaine. Stuck cleaning and running the household while her sisters run wild with magic, Doucette envies their beauty and confidence. But most of all she envies their swan cloaks, because it's with these coats that her sisters are able to tur...more
I've always loved fairy tales. Their full of hope, conquer, despair, hatred and obviously love. There is always a villain, a damsel in distress, a prince (or someone type of boy who is deeply in love with the damsel), something to overcome, and finally the happy ending. I think that pretty much sums up what a fairy tale consists of. Yup.

The Swan Maiden has all these concepts. It is, like I've read in other reviews, one long fairy tale. Actually, I think it's a mash up of fairy tales. We have mag...more
Jo Oehrlein
Doucette is jealous of her sisters, who are both swan maidens. Both can change into swans and fly away at any time. They're known for their beauty and men adore them. She is the dutiful clumsy younger sister who must train to be the castle chatelain. Her sisters go away each summer to spend time with their aunt, also a swan maiden, in the hope that one of them will be her heir.

Just after they leave for that trip one year, Doucette finds the swan skin that means that she, too, is a swan maiden. S...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lydia Shellenbarger
I liked the overall re-imagining/re-working of this fairy-tale situition, which takes multiple elements from classic European fairy-tales, but can't actually be said to be based on a certain one. However, that was about all I liked; though the actually writing was good, the characters themselves were too convincing in their flaws, and not very convincing in their virtues (Doucette's family in particular!). But, a strong, likable, lead can cover a multitude of sins, and at the beginning of the st...more
Docette is the third daughter of a lord, and her older sisters are both swan-maids, sorceresses allowed to flaunt their abilities and propriety -- fly in their swan skins, even. She, on the other hand, is taught the duties of a chastelaine. She thinks this is as exciting as you do. Naturally, there's more than that fate ahead of her.

Written in a delicate and lovely style, The Swan Maiden captivated me for the first two-thirds or so. I was initially willing to overlook rather...blocky messaging....more
Shenae Hutchins
I enjoyed the book immensely. The reason for a low rating was due to the poor writing structure. I love a good book, but I love proper grammar as well. I understand a novel based in an era, but this wasn't the case. The story itself is beautiful and actually not predictable; which is always a huge plus in my eyes. I recommend the book for casual readers who just need an extra book and for readers who love using their imagination and living in a dream world.
May 08, 2011 Geeta rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Some teens; mostly girls
Recommended to Geeta by:
*slight spoiler alert*
Yet again I have been disappointed with a YA book. I first saw this book on and was intrigued mostly due to the cover and then a little bit by the blurb. Unfortunately, the lack of character depth and excitement in the plot I must say it was a slightly boring and predictable read. There was potential in the relationship between Doucette and her aunt could have been explored further for I felt that we were barely told of their time together even though it w...more
Quite enjoyed this one. It smacked of some of the old fairy tales, though I could not pinpoint which one, but it put some life into them that the old ones never had. A little odd in some parts, and I still wonder how the relationship between the two main characters grew to love when they spent so very little time together.

I did find myself annoyed at the main character for some of her actions, particularly later on - and some early on, though I did not mind so much near the beginning, as she had...more
Doucette is no normal girl, but her mother makes it her goal for her at least one of her daughters to be normal, by normal she means , a princess who needs to learn her way around the house. But for Doucette house work is the last thing she wants to do, she would much rather be flying, like her sisters. She dreams of having her own swan skin, to fly, to cast magical spells, but unfortunately her parents tell her that she was not born with it. But when Doucette finds her Swan Skin she knows what...more
Anne Osterlund
Doucette is jealous.

Her sisters are both swan maidens, free to escape for months at a time from the constant orders and sharp tongue of their mother. While Doucette has been raised to be a lady. NOT a sorceress. Even the kind words of the young shepherd, Jaume, cannot free her from the drudgery of an ordinary life.

Until Doucette discovers her own swanskin.

Now she has a choice, which takes her all of thirty seconds to make. To drop her boring, magicless existence and exchange it for the promise o...more
If you want a YA-fairytale, read Entwined instead. That book has stayed with me ever since I read it, while the only thing that remained with me from this book was the cover. I love skin-changer stories (soooo Irish mythology.) But this one was stapled together. You've got the neglected-childhood-part stapled to the discovery-of-hidden-depths-part mashed together with falls-in-love-with-someone-unsuitable with Herculean-tasks.

The book becomes increasingly less satisfying, not living up to the e...more
Sarah Terese *Kili!*
Doucette sort of...bored me, as a main character. And the plot was oversimplified. I thought there would be some intrigue here...some developed characters...something like that?

In the end, it was just the same old "complete the impossible tasks to get the girl, whoa, hold on, a cliche misunderstanding must pop up to fill another fifty pages...and some randomness about Doucette throwing guys out of her fabulously magical castle. Then a marriage. The end."

Yes...happily ever after. And then they di...more
The main character in this book bothered me. At first I felt so sorry for her - teased by her sisters, enslaved by her mother. Then she just got annoying, and threw her whole life away for magic. I guess the overwhelming-ness of the magic wasn't realistic to me. Her sisters seemed to deal ok. So I thought she was stupid for immediately taking the swan skin and jumping out the window; for leaving her parents for months; for turning her back on her true love both because she thought he was laughin...more
Faith Chin
If you like, magic, fantasy, adventure birds (especially swans), then this book is for you! Who has ever heard of princesses learning magic and spells and become a wizard!!! Not in this kingdom they don't! Take flight on this adventure as you fly through this book as Princess Doucette learns that not only her sisters are wizards and can change into swans, she herself can do it too! For a long time, she doesn't know that she has the ability to weave spells and turn into a swan herself! She goes t...more
Marybeth Taylor
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Heather Tomlinson grew up in California and New Hampshire, graduating from Wellesley College with a degree in French literature. After teaching English in France and French in the United States, she worked at a book wholesaler. Now she writes the kinds of novels she likes to read.

Heather lives on a sailboat in southern California with her engineer husband, her baby boy, and cats X, Y, and Z.
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