Title: A Company of Swans
Author: Eva Ibbotson
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, History, Romance
5th sentence, 74th page: Of late, too, there had been competition from other and younger dancers – from Pavlova, who had also come to Europe; from the divine Karsavina, Diaghilev’s darling, who with Nijinsky had taken the West by storm.
FOR HARRIET MORTON, BALLET IS THE ONLY ESCAPE FROM HER DREARY HOME AND STRICT FAMILY. THEN A RUSSIAN BALLET MASTER COMES SEARCHING FOR DANCERS…
Defying her father, Harriet runs away to join the ballet on a journey to the Amazon. In a grand opera house, deep in the heart of the wild jungle, she performs Swan Lake – and falls in love with a mysterious British exile. But Harriet’s father has tracked her down… and her new life is under threat.
This is the last Eva Ibbotson book on my shelf. The last one that I have read (this year). I’ve read them all at least three times. And it’s kind of a nice note to end her five adult books on. Harriet is probably the most urchin-like and innocent of the five heroines. And her journey to romance is both the sweetest and the most tragic.
Everyone feels a little supressed by the expectations of their parents. But, in Harriet’s case, this takes a downright nasty and dangerous turn. Not being able to live or believe in anything seems like the worst possible life to me. Having people that don’t agree with anything that you wish for… there is this beautiful strength and passion that is to be found in Harriet. There is a line in this story about when she decides to finally give up on loving others. She has accepted that she won’t ever be loved, but it is the loss of giving love that provides a breaking point. This resonates beautifully with me. After all, receiving love might be easy, but giving it is the true pleasure.
Rom is probably the darkest and most British of the Ibbotson suitors. Or at least, the most mysterious. I love how his acknowledgement of Harriet’s innocence and purity ensures her safety, even while he plans a greater future for them both. His counterpart (Harriet’s original suitor) is so at odds with Rom and seems to highlight all of the worst things about a well-educated man. It is something that provides no end of entertainment throughout, and makes it incredibly easy to read this book in one night…
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