A Company of Swans

( 72 )

Overview

Ballerinas and exotic rogues abound in this charming and lyrical historical romance for fans of Amanda Quick

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 ...

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A Company of Swans

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Overview

Ballerinas and exotic rogues abound in this charming and lyrical historical romance for fans of Amanda Quick

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 narrowly escaping the clutches of the man who wishes to marry her, Harriet sneaks off to join the ballet on their journey to the Amazon. There, in the wild, lush jungle, they perform Swan Lake in grand opera houses for the wealthy and culture-deprived rubber barons, and Harriet meets Rom Verney, the handsome and mysterious British exile who owns the most ornate opera house. Utterly enchanted by both the exotic surroundings and by Rom’s affections, Harriet is swept away by her new life, completely unaware that her father and would-be finacé have begun to track her down. . . .

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ginny Sautner
Harriet Morton is a sweet-hearted and intelligent young girl with the misfortune to grow up under the oppressive ideologies of her father and aunt in the early years of the 20thcentury. With antiquated ideas of gender roles, Professor Morton forbids his daughter from continuing her education, thus stifling her spirit. All this changes when a small red-headed young boy asks some innocent questions about her life. Following her intuition and a string of unlikely coincidences, Harriet chances to change her life. She leaves her safe and restrictive home in Cambridge, England, and takes haven with Dubrov's Russian Ballet Company performing in the Amazon. In a bizarre twist of fate, she meets the red-headed boy's uncle, Rom Verney, and falls hopelessly in love with this British ex-patriot. Her journey, both emotional and physical, teaches Harriet how to be independent and allows her the space to gain real self-confidence and to forge her own destiny. Written with wit and an intelligent humor, the author recreates the time period in a way that feels authentic. The constant allusions to literary greats will make readers feel a connection to classic literature, and the novel expects readers to have a bit of background knowledge about the time period. Teens looking for historical and romantic fiction will not find a better tale of intrigue and female strength. Reviewer: Ginny Sautner
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230014848
  • Publisher: Picador
  • Publication date: 12/1/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 392
  • Sales rank: 696,614
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.75 (h) x 2.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Eva Ibbotson, born Maria Charlotte Michelle Wiesner (21 January 1925 – 20 October 2010), was an Austrian-born British novelist, known for her children's books. Some of her novels for adults have been successfully reissued for the young adult market in recent years. For the historical novel Journey to the River Sea (Macmillan, 2001), she won the Smarties Prize in category 9–11 years, garnered unusual commendation as runner up for the Guardian Prize, and made the Carnegie, Whitbread, and Blue Peter shortlists. She was a finalist for the 2010 Guardian Prize at the time of her death. Her last book, The Abominables, was one of eight books on the longlist for the same award in 2012.

The following interview appeared in the Fall 2001 Preview Magazine

Do you have any rituals?

I can write anywhere if I have to because I still use a pen and paper -, but when I am at home I go to the old carved desk I inherited from my mother who was a writer too, and told some fantastic stories. The morning is best for ideas, and I have to be wearing warm clothes because when I am thinking hard I get cold. And I have to have a waste paper basket handy for all the pages that have gone wrong.

Whom do your share your writing with first?

I don't really share my work until it is published, I feel too uncomfortable about unfinished work.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I don't think I ever knew, it just happened. One day I wrote author' in my passport and that was that..

What were you doing when you found out that your first book was going to be published?

Cooking supper for my husband and children. My agent phoned and I shouted and we all danced about, except my husband who saw to it that the sauce did not burn.

What did you treat yourself to when you found out that your first book was accepted for publication?

My first money as a writer came from a short story in a magazine. It was a very small sum, and I bought Mars Bars for everybody in the family.

What was the first book you remember reading as a child? Did you have a favorite book as a child?

I don't remember the name of my first book, but I know it had a picture of very bright berries, green and red in a forest- and people lived inside the berries... Perhaps that's where my passion for forests comes from!

Do you read reviews of your own work?

Yes, when I am sent them, but I don't go out and look.

What’s the best question a teen has asked about your writing?

I don't know what the best question is, but by far the most common is Where do you get your ideas from?' - and the answer to that is very difficult (and therefore interesting).

What are you reading right now?

The Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula Le Guin.

Susan, your editor, tells me Journey to the River Sea is a book you've wanted to write for years. How did the idea first come to you?

Journey to the River Sea was written quite quickly but it spent years and years inside my head. It started with my hearing about this fabled opera house a thousand miles from the mouth of the Amazon and I thought it was one of the strangest things I had ever heard - I meant to go there and see for myself but then I realised it would mean going back into the past because everything is quite different there now. So I went on reading and dreaming and researching and then one day, I picked up my pen to start a new book about witches and ghosts and found I had started to write an adventure story set in the jungle.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 72 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(52)

4 Star

(12)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 72 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2009

    I love this book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yeah!

    I dance myself and this book is AMAZING! I love rereading it, and always find myself making references to it during the day. I just adore this book even though a page or two made no sense. If you don't dance it would be helpful to ask about some of the words and steps if you know somebody who does dance. Or just use google images.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A girl finds a adventure and love from a one man.

    A company of swans is an excellent novel. It begins with the life of a regular girl living a unfriendly life. The only place she can find peace and love is in dancing. From the beginning of the book you begin to feel compassion for the main character. When she gets an opportunity to preform near the Amazon for a ballet you become part of the story. You find yourself wanting to know more about her adventures and love. She encounters many problems, but when she falls in love with one of the riches men known to London her life becomes a roller-coaster. Throughout the book you are experiencing the emotions of a young girl who thinks her life is doomed and finds that if you fight hard enough, you may end up with what you want. This is a book I would reread for enjoyment. It is one that I wish to live in and experience myself and teaches me to hope for the future.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 28, 2011

    Best of Ibbotson!

    I must say this is my ALL TIME favorite book. It has a bit of everything, romance, action, adventure, travel, the arts, and lots of history. You never want to put it down, and you always want to find out what's next. The ending was PERFECT as in I didn't have to even want a sequel, it was perfect. I think if you wanted to try one of her stories, START WITH THIS ONE. This is the first I've read of hers and I will continue to read it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 6, 2012

    Loved It!!

    One of my favorite books by her.

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  • Posted November 27, 2011

    My Favorite Book Of All Time

    I do a lot of reading. Seriously, I read all the time. I have read countless books, yet this one is the book that stood out from all the others. Although in some respects it is predictable and the heroine is nearly flawless, every time I read this book it captivates me all over again. Although other readers may not hold it as highly as I do, it is definitely worth your time and money to give this book a chance.

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  • Posted October 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Definitely read this book!

    Every time I read a book by Eva Ibbotson I say "Best one yet!", but I have to say it again lol I loved their love story and I truly felt attached to the characters. I could see their love really develop and truly felt the heartbreak and joy felt throughout the book.

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  • Posted July 7, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A nice, old-fashioned romance

    This book is pretty good. I loved the old-fashioned romance of it. Though the it's very predictable, it's well-written, elegant, and a good read for a rainy day.

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  • Posted June 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    recomended

    This book has an heavenly story line that make you dicover your self who you are and who you want to be. The way it was written was confusing in some parts beacase there is alot of older talk and freach words other than that it was a good story but a longer read well worth the effort.

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  • Posted April 9, 2010

    One of my fave books!

    The book starts out kind of boring, but by the third chapter or so...I was addicted! It was interesting to see Harriet, the main character, grow as a person. I'm glad I kept reading this book, and totally recommend it :D

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2009

    A Company of Swans

    This is a great book for young teenage readers. The locations are grounded by historical facts, and the characters are reaistic. My daughter is a dancer and she was able to identify the steps by name and show them to me as I read the book. She also recognized some of the historical names in dance. We enjoyed the book very much and will definitely read more books written by Eva Ibbotson.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 1, 2009

    Ballet and History a great combo!

    If you like history and ballet then you will really enjoy this look into early 20th century traveling ballet companies. Even as a fiction book you can really believe it could happen!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2009

    Very disappointing.

    It was sad that I didn't like this book, because the author writes really well, but I just couldn't stay on top of the story. It was very confusing, and I didn't like the content, and I just got fet up with the book after a while. The characters don't seem consistent, and you never really know what's going on. A good idea, but not worth reading.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2009

    AMAZING!!

    One of the best books I have ever read. Simple as that.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2009

    Excellent Romance Read For Teens

    I read and absolutly loved this book it is a reall good romance book for teens along the lines of Twilight without the supernatural stuff. execellent read..

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  • Posted February 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Ibbotson is a great author!

    I started this book about four days ago and read every night for 2 hours or less and today I finished! Ibbotson intrigued me with her writing style. It was absolutly FANTASTIC!!! I could barely put it down before I went to bed every night! Harriet was a wonderful character and Rom is one of the dreamiest sounding men you could possibly want in a story like this. Will it be a hapily ever after for Harriet or will it end in tradgedy? READ IT TO FIND OUT!

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  • Posted January 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN!!!

    I went into the store for a different book wich they didn't have, so I picked up this on. Wasn't sure about it but I needed something to read so I bought it. Once I started reading it i couldn't put it down. this book was amazing!Being a ballerina myself, I could totally relate to Harriet's feelings towards her sport.<BR/> This is a very well written book with a lot of passion, especially for ballet. I would recomend it to anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Great!

    Once you get through the first 50 pages, the book is wonderful, and I didn't want to put it down. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to read a beautiful love story.

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  • Posted October 27, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Absolutly Beautiful

    This is a wonderful story about a woman who lives a sheltered life and sneaks off to join the ballet on their journey to the Amazon. Eva Ibbotson really knows how to draw you in and feel what the characters are feeling.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2008

    A reviewer

    i went away, and had gotten this book from the library...i read it 2 times in succesion! the plot line is original, the ideas authentic. Eva Ibbotson really knows how to draw you in and feel what Harriet is feeling. this is a book you will not be able to put down

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2008

    most amazing book ever

    I had to do a book report on this book and it was wonderful. Although the beginning is hard to get into, the rest of the book is outstanding. Harriet Jane Morton is a nineteen-year-old girl living in England, her father thinks she is quiet, always under his control, is a little girl, and never dose anything un lady-like. Really, Harriet is a sneaky, smart young woman who has a mind of her own. She has thin brown hair and pale skin with a serious face (but when she smiles, her face ¿¿lights up like the morning sun¿¿). Her personality is very feminine, curious, and slightly romantic.Her only real moments of happiness occur in ballet class. When she is offered employment in a ballet company that is set to travel to South America, her father forbids it. At first, she is resigned to obey him. A chance meeting with a little boy changes her mind, and she runs away to join the ballet. But her father and the man who wants to marry her aren't far behind. Absolutely perfect vacation reading. Not deep, not profound, just lots of swoony romance, rotten relations, Marcus Aurelius, ballet, and off-screen sex. Oh, and a lady-jumping-out-of-a-cake scene. I truly think you should read this book, it will blow you away.

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