Andy Wilkerson's Reviews > Island of the Swans

Island of the Swans by Ciji Ware
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's review
Jun 03, 2011

it was ok

I debated for a few minutes about whether to give this book two stars or just one. To be honest, I didn’t like the book and if I could go back and tell myself to skip it, I would. However, I went with two stars because the last 100 or so pages brought a better light than the first 400.

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 story of Jane Maxwell’s life is different than the one that Ware told. I want to know, from Ware’s research, which part of her story is based on true events and which are created in order to make a better book. I was really disappointed when I made it to the end to find out there was no authors note on her years of research.

I found this book for a great price, and the story just sounded absolutely riveting. However, I was never fully pulled into the book and only found myself reading it when I simply didn’t have anything else to do. The story just never pulled me in. Instead of rooting for Jane or Thomas or Alex, I was sorry for them all and didn’t care how it ended because it was all so depressing anyway. The several encounters of Thomas and Jane seeing one another was the identical scene spaced over 600 pages. The time leading up, and the time of these encounters there would be plenty of details being told, then there would be a lull afterwards where two years would go by and only three sentences were dedicated to tell the reader what took place. It was a bit annoying to me that this entire story was based on this love triangle that I don’t even know if it existed.

Jane’s part in history did interest me, and I really enjoyed the short portion of the book there near the end that talked in detailed about how she was able to take care of herself, children, and estate. Too bad Ware waited until the end to disclose how much of an influence she had with the Gordon estates and local people.

Overall I don’t recommend this book. If you are looking for Scottish historical fiction, I’m sure there is better available. If you are pulled in by the summary, like I was, then read a couple reviews before giving it a try. You might find it best to just skip this one.

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