A Company of Swans
For nineteen-year-old Harriet Morton, life in 1912 Cambridge is as dry and dull as a biscuit. Her stuffy father and her opressive aunt Louisa allow her only one outlet: ballet. When a Russian ballet master comes to class searching for dancers to fill the corps of his ballet company before their South American tour, Harriet's world changes. Defying her father's wishes and...more
Was it all due to the ...more
Eva Ibbotson's books are all out of this world, but this one maybe even more so than the rest. (Except maybe The Morning Gift, which I think will always be my favourite).
1. do you like ballet?
2. do you enjoy romantic semi-tragedies?
3. would you travel to the Amazon to escape from over-bearing and protecting family members?
4. would you defy everything you've been brought up to believe for something you think is right?
If you say yes to at least to of these, then this book is definetly one you will read again and again!
Why is The Company of Swans *so* good? - and, believe me, even years later, it really is still that good.
Partly it's because the plot is pure Cinderella (my favourite trope): Harriet Morton is cabin'd, cribb'd, confin'd by the conventions of Edwardian Cambridge. Her widowed father and aunt live unimaginative lives of quiet monotony, and actively ...more
The always-serious Professor Morton expected his daughter to marry the man he had chosen. A zoologist, Edward Finch-Dutton gave himself the goal ...more
This is my second book by this author and I just loved it. Her books have been recently marketed as YA but like the last one, this is really a clean historical romance with a really great heroine (nice, loving, smart, hard worker) who is NOT a beauty but still shines because of her personality. Add to that the great setting (a ballet company touring Brazil in the 1910s), an interesting hero and an amazing cast of secondary characters and you get another gem by Ibbotson.
The ballet ...more
I can't imagine you're not already sold just from that description, but may I also mention the dashing hero, the amusing tricks played on the hideous unwanted fiance, the charmingly insane prima ballerina, and the astonishing series of ridiculous coincidences that drive the plot along.
--> a nice, pure, good heroine (good like in fairy-tales), but Ruth from The Morning Gift had more life, was better created;
--> the Hero, a bit brooding, moody and with a big heart, but I loved more Marek from A Song for Summer;
--> a charming world which doesn't exist any more, (mostly) Russian ballerinas just before the IWW somewhere in Brazil, but I was much more interested in Vienna world from The Morning ...more
That's just my feelings, of course. I felt like her life began to revolve around the guy, and she was a bit obsessive.
So, yeah, I never really finished this book, just skimmed through - I'm pretty sure it will stay on the never-finished shelf forever.
When we first meet Harriet, it is indeed difficult to find an aspect of her life that is not dreary and isolated. Kept on an unbelievably tight rein by her scholar father and spinster aunt, her only outlet is the weekly ballet lessons that have somehow slipped under the radar. When a talent scout ...more
- the lovely and perfect heroine who borders on TSTL swirled together with the roguish and charming hero who subscribes to the "one bad relationship + one broken heart = ALL WOMEN ARE MORALLY BANKRUPT" theory of life
- the conniving ex oozing into every scene for dark drama
- the rainbow sprinkle-saccharine and precocious child
- BIG MISUNDERSTANDINGS like nuts that would break your teeth
So the internet seems to indicate that this book was originally published as an adult book and then when Eva Ibbotson's YA writing took off, it got republished as a YA book. I'm really very much hoping that's the case because it's the story of an eighteen year old girl who runs away to Brazil to be a ballet dancer and falls in love with a man who's "not quite thirty". And, like, PLEASE DON'T PROMOTE THOSE KINDS OF ...more
"Loneliness had taught Harriet that there was always someone who understood - it was just that so very often they were dead, and in a book."
It's 1912 in Cambridge, and nineteen-year-old Harriet ...more
This book takes us on a journey, along with Harriet, as she leaves her sheltered life in London to join a touring ballet company as they ...more
There were a few scenes that were wonderfully surprising and delighting. I found myself amazed and laughing out loud when I thought about those scenes later. However, I was disappointed to find the author used one of my pet peeves. The hero and heroine made erroneous assumptions about each other that would have been cleared up if only they had communicated in a normal manner. They loved each other and wanted to marry, but each one ...more
She was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1925. When Hitler came into power, her family moved to England. She attended Bedford College, graduating in 1945; Cambridge University from 1946-47; and the University of Durham, from which she graduated with a diploma in education in 1965. ...more