Island of the Swans
Winner of Romantic Times Award for Best Fictionalized Biography
Jane Maxwell was passionate, powerful, and controversial. Wife to one duke, mother to another, a patron of the poet Robert Burns, advisor to King George and the subject of a portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds. Growing up in eighteenth century Scotland, Jane Maxwell and Thomas Fraser are inse...more
Can't really decide between 2 or 3 stars so have plumped for 2.5!
This wasn't a bad book, but it annoyed me in several ways:-
1. It focused primarily on the (fictitious) love triangle rather than on the lives of the real people concerned.
2. It focused on general history of the period rather than on the lives of the real people concerned.
3. It was obvious that the author had done her research and she crammed in every fact she could which often made the story unwieldy and meant that the focus was ...more
The story begins in 1870 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Maxwells of Monreith are well-born but always in financial difficulty. Jane is ever the tomboy, much to the chagrin of her grasping mother who has plans to marry the blossoming beauty into a wealthy family. Jane's great friend and cohort in *crime* is Thomas Fraser and as the two grow older their friendship develops into something stronger. They hope to wed one day, although Jane's mother and Thomas' guardian Simon Fraser have other plan ...more
My favorite books of all time are Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series, and any fans of hers will love and devour this book. First, it involves clan Fraser, and occurs right before the Revolutionary Wa ...more
Island of the Swans tells the story of Jane Maxwell, an 18th century Scottish woman who may be an an ...more
The first 100 or so pages of the book had me completely hooked - and completely convinced this was going to be an amazing ride. The characters were so well-defined, so rich and complex, and I was really looking forward to following a story with some subtlety...nothing is more tragic than good people who just can't make each other (or themselves) happy.
Subtle...is not what happened. First, the book just follows the same cycle over...and over...and over...and over...and over ...more
The history covered in this book is great. Jane lived in Scotland and England during the late 1700's. In her lifetime, she was received at George III's court, championed William Pitt to become Prime Minister, was painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds, was Robert Burns' patron, and helped raise troops to support the cr ...more
I couldn't taste the Scottish f ...more
Meeting her again as a young woman, he woos her. Jane, on her part is angry at Thomas for putting his Uncle's wishes above her own.
She marries Alexander but never ceases to love Thomas. She comes to feel Alexander will never understand her as Thomas does.
Fraught with deceit, misfortune ...more
Should be a great story. Is well-researched. Jane Maxwell had a very interesting life but she single-handedly ruined it.
The book is like a romance novel, sans the sex. The sex scenes are so sterile and strange.
If you want Scottish-themed historical fiction there are ton of better places to turn. (*cough* Outlander *cough*)
The story begins with Jane as a mischievous young girl, who defies her mother in more w ...more
*Thomas Fraser, of the Fraser Highlanders who participated in the '45 with the Young Pretender, and thus lost everything. Thomas has struggled all of his life and must join the army to make a living. He and Jane have loved each other since childhood. (And yes, theses are the same Frasers as those featured in the Outlander Series)
*Alex Gordon, the Duke of Gordon. His fam ...more
A love triangle involving Jane Maxwell, her lost love Thomas and her husband Alex.
I didn't like Jane, couldn't relate to her way of thinking. Couldn't let things go and wasted what could of been a good marriage over her childhood love, Thomas.
She couldn't even empathize with her husband and his feelings of her loving someone else. What a bitch. Alex was understanding at first and then it just became a cycle of he ...more
When they both reach young adulthood, they love each other yet financially they are unable to convince their paren ...more
Island of the Swans takes you back to the lowlands of Scotland several years after the disasterous Culloden. It follows the life of the young and beautiful Jane Maxwell, a girl of some fortune who falls in love with Thomas Fraser who lost his lands when his family fought against the crown in 1747. Thomas leaves to fight in the colonies to r ...more
I could spend the time in the review spoing all my excuses, but why bore you
I liked the story, and yes it kinda reminded me of the ups and downs I had to endure while reading In the Land of the Long White Cloud...very depressing, but then very hopeful one minute to the next.
The characters were well written, and I liked the fact that we got to see a little of the Revolutionary war from the British/Scot ...more
On this revisit, ten + years later it was still an interesting read, but definitely not the book that I remembered and fell so hard for.
This time around I found myself routing for the "bad guy" in the fourth Duke of Gordon, Alexander & slightly annoyed with the childhood "romance" formed ...more
The book starts in 1760. Jane Maxwell, eleven years old, is the daughter of a baronet who is drinking away the family fortune and a mother desperate to marr ...more
As our heroine, Jane Maxwell, grew up with Thomas Fraser, a member of a clan who was on the wrong side of the recent conflict and lost their fa ...more
For the complete review, please go here: