D.G.'s Reviews > A Company of Swans

A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson
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's review
Oct 09, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: historical-romance, reviewed
Recommended to D.G. by: willaful
Read from February 20 to 21, 2011

*4.5 stars*

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 company was an integral part of the story so a lot of the action revolves around rehearsals, the dances, etc. I know nothing of ballet but I didn’t find it hard to follow along (Zozia, I was thinking of you while I was reading) even though there were a lot of French terms. :) Of course, it helped that the plots of the different ballets they danced were explained so the readers could understand what was going on.

While the heroine’s setting was the ballet company, the hero was Brazil’s. The untamed land, the exotic animals, the mix of cultures, the injustices, all were a reflection of the hero’s background and personality. Like every hero worth his salt, he’s the kind of man that every woman desires. One of my favorite lines in the whole book is the ballerina’s speculations of the hero’s prowess in bed: "a night with such a man and one could hardly manage three fouettés, let alone thirty-two..."

There were a bunch of minor villains, all doing their part to separate the hero and heroine. Of these, my favorite was the wannabe fiancé because his pomposity made for great comic relief. My second favorite line was when a French young lady speaks to him in French and he thinks: “Though he was aware that people born abroad could sometimes speak their native language, to hear this beautiful girl pour forth sentence after sonorous, unhesitating sentence, when he himself has suffered such torments over his French exercises, filled him with awe.” When I read that, I almost PIMP laughing.

The book doesn’t get 5 stars because the conflict was a bit silly but I can forgive the heroine because she was so young. Overall though, this a great read and I’m looking forward to read more by this author.
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Reading Progress

02/20/2011 page 230
02/21/2011 page 295
77.0% "Favorite line so far: "a night with such a man and one could hardly manage three fouettés, let alone thirty-two...""

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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D.G. LOL, Zozia! The author seemed to know what she was talking about. The heroine is part of the corps de ballet so the author described various scenes of the parts she danced (the swans in Swan Lake, the Wilis in Giselle) in a way that made sense within the plot.

message 2: by MashJ (last edited Feb 23, 2011 11:47PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

MashJ I think the thing with Eva Ibbotson is not to read too many of her books at once. This is probably my favourite actually. I don't know whether it is the South American location influencing me but this one had the hint of magic realism that Lisa Kleypas claims she is trying to write into the Friday Harbour series.

Eva Ibbotson died a few months ago.

Julia I also enjoyed the fascinating role the secondary characters played in the story.

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