Swan Maiden

( 3 )

Overview

In the quiet hour before dawn, anything can happen. Doucette can dream of being a creature of flight and magic, of wearing a swan skin like her older sisters. But she must run the castle household while her sisters learn to weave spells. Her dream of flying is exactly that . . . until the day she discovers her own hidden birthright. Sudden, soaring freedom—it is a wish come true. Yet, not even magic can protect against every danger, especially when the heart is involved. As she struggles to find her own way in ...

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The Swan Maiden

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Overview

In the quiet hour before dawn, anything can happen. Doucette can dream of being a creature of flight and magic, of wearing a swan skin like her older sisters. But she must run the castle household while her sisters learn to weave spells. Her dream of flying is exactly that . . . until the day she discovers her own hidden birthright. Sudden, soaring freedom—it is a wish come true. Yet, not even magic can protect against every danger, especially when the heart is involved. As she struggles to find her own way in the world, Doucette risks losing the one person she loves most of all.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Layered, elegantly written, and filled with unexpected twists and turns, The Swan Maiden soars with grace and power.”—Booklist, Starred Review

“Inspired by French fairy tales, Tomlinson skillfully weaves a satisfying and enchanting tale that flows quickly and immerses readers in a charming, rustic setting.”—School Library Journal

“This novel has a light and enchanting quality . . . Doucette’s struggles and dreams will resonate with teenage girls who are trying to find their place in the world.”—Voice of Youth Advocates

Publishers Weekly

Inspired by French fairy tales, Tomlinson's first novel takes the motif of the "swan maiden"- a beautiful young woman who can assume the form of a swan-and embroiders it into an elaborate romantic fantasy. Doucette, the 16-year-old daughter of a count, longs to be a swan maiden like her two older sisters, Azelais and Cecilia, who can perform sorcery, but for the past six years her parents have led her to believe that she was born without a "swan skin." While her sisters spend each summer with Tante Mahalt perfecting their magic, Doucette undergoes year-round tutelage from their domineering mother in running a noble household-until she discovers the swan skin her mother has hidden from her since birth. Tomlinson presents Doucette's subsequent adventures as a series of forks in the road: Stay with her mother or fly to Tante Mahalt? Marry her true love, the shepherd Jaume, or be made queen? Sacrifice her swan self, and her magic, in exchange for love? The prose rarely rises above the serviceable ("Soft as milk, as clouds, as snow, the dappled swan skin enveloped her in a luscious warmth"); rather, it's the fast-moving plot that will engage readers. Fans of Shannon Hale's Goose Girland Juliet Marillier's Daughter of the Forest form the likeliest audience. Ages 12-up. (Aug.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
VOYA - Rachel Wadham
Doucette's only dream is to be a swan sorceress like her two older sisters instead of learning how to run the household of a castle. Her dream soon comes true when she discovers the key to her powers-her swan skin, which had been secreted away by her mother. Donning her skin, Doucette flies away to train in the ways of magic, but she soon learns that even though her newfound power might allow her to follow her heart and be with her true love, a simple shepherd, it might also conspire to corrupt and separate the lovers. Doucette must learn to control her magic and then find a way to trust herself and her love before they can have their happily ever after. Inspired by little-known French fairy tales, this novel has a light and enchanting quality to which readers of retold fairy tales will be drawn. Doucette's struggles and dreams will resonate with teenage girls who are trying to find their place in the world. Despite these strengths, however, the novel still has some significant weaknesses that will prevent if from finding a wide audience. Overall the pace of the book is exceedingly slow, events do not feel tied together, some solutions to problems seem unrealistic, and the villains never get their just deserts. Although it is still an enjoyable collection addition, librarians and teachers will find that readers will need to be guided to it.
Children's Literature - Julia Beiker
What does a maiden have to do to get the love and attention of her family? She has been a shadow and a cruel pawn to her two older sisters. Her mother treats her like a common servant, making her learn the hows and whys of taking care of a home, so she can marry above her station, but she does not care about that. Her father does not treat her cruelly, but he basically ignores her until she crosses her mother. At 16 years old, Doucette learned that she has the same magical powers as her two older sisters and that she too can fly like a swan. A simple shepherd with complete love and admiration for Doucette desires her hand in marriage, but when the shepherd proves his devotion, Doucette's mother suffers a huge a tantrum that could destroy everything for poor Doucette. Now Doucette must prove to herself and her fiance that love, not magic, can restore order, but the price she pays at each passing, including even one of her own body parts, will leave its mark. A good fairy tale takes the reader to a fantasy world so complete it could be true. This is not so with "The Swan Maiden." It seemed the author, Heather Tomlinson, incorporated different parts of several fairy tales instead of having an original story, and it falls flat. Of course, it has it merits. The young girl does change as the story progresses, and there was a happy ending. I loved the cover, and it did reflect the meaning of the story.
School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up
As the youngest, seemingly unmagical daughter of Lord Pascau, Doucette, 16, is trapped in the castle learning how to manage a busy household while her wildly unrestrained swan maiden sisters study the High Arts with their sorceress aunt. Doucette is expected to behave as a proper young lady and marry as her parents dictate, unlike her sisters, who are free to live-and love-as they choose. Her dreams of flying and of being free to love the shepherd boy Jaume seem utterly hopeless until a chance discovery reveals the birthright that her parents have kept carefully concealed from her. But even then, obstacles stand between Doucette and happiness, not the least of which are Jaume's distrust of magic and a series of impossible tasks that he must complete to win her hand. Inspired by French fairy tales, Tomlinson skillfully weaves a satisfying and enchanting tale that flows quickly and immerses readers in a charming, rustic setting. Independent, determined, and fallible, Doucette is a likable heroine who grows in confidence and trust. The romance is secondary to her development. This book would make an excellent companion to Edith Pattou's East (Harcourt, 2003) and may also appeal to Donna Jo Napoli's fans.
—Neala ArnoldCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Doucette, a meek and envious youngest sister, progresses from sour to distant trying to find herself. Her elder sisters are swan maidens: They practice magic, choose their own lovers and tauntingly relish their freedom. Doucette, in contrast, is treated coldly and trained to supervise a household. When she discovers her own swan skin hidden under a mattress, she grabs her birthright of magical powers and flies off to learn sorcery. A sweet, tender suitor offers perfect love, but marriage seems to disallow freedom, so Doucette flees. Alone and dissociated, "[l]ike a drunkard swilling wine, a miser counting coins, she [loses] herself in magic." Tomlinson's strength is the "golden, drowsy landscape" with sensuous details like "the smell of flowering almond" and " ‘crushed mint for a pillow.' " Her weaknesses are the repetitious dichotomy ("Woman or swan, wife or witch") and a frustrating vagueness in the magic's metaphysics. Seekers of nitty-gritty magical details should look elsewhere, but the atmosphere and gratifying last chapter will please fans of romance and ambience. (Fantasy. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312384470
  • Publisher: Square Fish
  • Publication date: 9/30/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 940,399
  • Age range: 12 - 18 Years
  • Lexile: 780L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Heather Tomlinson has taught English in Paris and French in the U.S. She lives on a houseboat in and around southern California with her engineer husband and cats X, Y, and Z. Her next book, Aurelie: A Faerie Tale, was published in Fall 2008 by Henry Holt.

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Read an Excerpt

The Swan Maiden


By Tomlinson, Heather

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

Copyright © 2007 Tomlinson, Heather
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780805082753

Her fingers plunged into the feathers. Soft and warm, the swan-skin offered a silent promise.

Change.

Did she dare?

Doucette crossed to the window, pushed aside the embroidered curtains, and stared out of the luxurious room that suddenly seemed a prison.

Over the years, Doucette had heard her father instruct her sisters’ escort. Like them, she could follow the sheep flocks to a lake in the mountains, then seek the lake’s eastern shore. The river Immeluse would lead her the rest of the way to her aunt’s castle, to a season of studying magic with Azelais and Cecilia. If she dared.

The wind kissed her cheek.

Doucette sat and took off her shoes. Her hose. Her gown, and the soft chemise underneath. Folding each item, she set it on the bed. The breeze gusted, stirring dried rose petals in a wooden bowl and raising tiny bumps along Doucette’s skin.

She took a deep breath and drew on the coat of feathers. Magic tingled the length of her body and down her spine. Her neck stretched, her legs shrank. Her skin exploded in feathers. The world spun around her as her vision took on a crystalline sharpness. The floor rose to meet her, then stopped with a jolt.

She was a swan.

Continues...

Excerpted from The Swan Maiden by Tomlinson, Heather Copyright © 2007 byTomlinson, Heather. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2007

    This book is a must read!!

    This book is one great read, when I went to the library and picked it up I wasn't sure but it ended up being a great read and I recommend it to everyone. This book isn't a read it once kind of book, it'll have you reading it over and over.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2008

    Okay...

    This is a wonderful book, but at times it would drag. I didn't like the ending much...It was okay i guess, not the greatest though

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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