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
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 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
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
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
When they both reach young adulthood, they love each other yet financially they are unable to convince their paren...more
The story begins with Jane as a mischievous young girl, who defies her mother in more w...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
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*)
*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
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
First thing first: I love to read historical fiction. That is….where an author takes pieces that are found in history and links them all together with a flowing story. Doing a little bit of research myself, the st...more
Based on the life of Lady Jane Maxwell, the Duchess of Gordon, who was a leading society lady in her time and a rival of the Duchess of Devonshire, this sounded like an interesting read. It starts with Jane as a child and her friendship with her neighbour Thomas Fraser an...more
Jane Maxwell and Thomas Fraser had planned to marry over her mother's and his uncle'...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