A Company of Swans

A Company of Swans

by Eva Ibbotson

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A Company of Swans is a sweeping tale of romance, freedom and the beauty of dance from award-winning author, Eva Ibbotson.

Weekly ballet classes are Harriet Morton's only escape from her intolerably dull life. So when she is chosen to join a corps de ballet which is setting off on a tour of the Amazon, she leaps at the chance to run away for good.

Performing in the grand opera houses is everything Harriet dreamed of, and falling in love with an aristocratic exile makes her new life complete. Swept away by it all, she is unaware that her father and intended fiancé have begun to track her down . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780230737884
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publication date: 09/04/2008
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 492,368
File size: 571 KB
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Eva Ibbotson was born in Vienna in 1925 and moved to England with her father when the Nazis came to power. Ibbotson wrote more than twenty books for children and young adults, many of which garnered nominations for major awards for children's literature in the UK, including the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize and the Whitbread Prize. Eva's critically acclaimed Journey to the River Sea won the Smarties Gold Medal in 2001. Set in the Amazon, it was written in honour of her deceased husband Alan, a former naturalist. Imaginative and humorous, Eva's books often convey her love of nature, in particular the Austrian countryside, which is evident in works such as The Star of Kazan and A Song for Summer. Eva passed away at her home in Newcastle on 20 October 2010. Her final book, One Boy and His Dog, was published in May 2011.
Eva Ibbotson was born in Vienna in 1925 and moved to England with her father when the Nazis came into power. Ibbotson wrote more than twenty books for children and young adults, many of which garnered nominations for major awards for children's literature in the UK, including the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize and the Whitbread Prize. Eva's critically acclaimed Journey to the River Sea won the Smarties Gold Medal in 2001. Set in the Amazon, it was written in honour of her deceased husband Alan, a former naturalist. Imaginative and humorous, Eva's books often convey her love of nature, in particular the Austrian countryside, which is evident in works such as The Star Of Kazan and A Song For Summer. Eva passed away at her home in Newcastle on October 20th 2010. Her final book, One Dog and His Boy, was published in May 2011.

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A Company of Swans 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 87 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
beautybabydoll More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Linnet71 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Eva Ibbotson said she was surprised that this book (along with 'A Song for Summer' and 'The Magic Flute', etc.) was successfully re-packaged as a Young Adult title. She said she wrote them for people who had had flu and were convalescing. Having read them for the first time recently while ill, I can confirm they are delightful comfort reading.
LyzzyBee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Acquired via BookCrossing Nov 2010The last of the books passed to me by a colleague for the BookCrossing Zone at the University, and quite a good one. Avoiding too much War stuff, for once, this is the story of Harriet and her wish for a career in the ballet. Like "Journey to the River Sea", we have a lot of the plot set in Manaus, which is lovely, although it is a fairly standard love story with a bit of romance for the teen readers, and as usual the author loves her principal characters too much - this should be shown rather than told! A diverting and engaging read, anyway.
liahna89 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Harriet Morton, faced with both the coldness of a penny-pinching aunt,and distant father, and the prospect of an unwelcome marriage runs off to Brazil to dance in a ballet company headed for the city of Manaus. In Manaus she meets Rom, a wealthy rubber "barron" who shows her kindness and friendship. When the man her father intended her to marry shows up in Manaus to cart her back to England, Harriet must look to her new friends to save her from the bleakness of her life in Cambridge. This novel clearly expresses the narrowness of an upperclass woman's life in 19th century England. Although Harriet (like all Eva Ibbotson's heroines),is clearly too perfect, the story is well written and romantic. It is a delightful bit of fluff that is both inspiring and exciting. I cannot account for my delight in Eva Ibbotson's works considering how much I'm bothered by her over sentimentality. It must be a testament to the lady's superior writing abiltiy to make me adore her stories despite my knowledge of their rather obvious flaws. If you like romantic and adventerous plots, if you've ever enjoyed another of Eva Ibbotson's stories, then I reccomend this book for you.
cstieglitz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite novels. "A Company of Swans" is a about a young woman who runs away from strict father to join a dance company that is performing in Brazil. While there she embraces her new life and falls in love. Unkown to her, her father is searching for, and threatening to send her back.This is a very romantic novel, that shows that you should never give up on your dreams dispite all costs.
KristiLynn11 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A beautifully written novel about a strong headed girl defying her parents in a time when it was unheard of. Love story is perfectly balanced between its explicit nature and its innocence.
Liabee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Almost as good as "A Countess Below Stairs", better than "The Reluctant Heiress". This one about a young girl, Harriet Morton, who escapes a cold father and cruel aunt by absconding to Brazil with a ballet company. Her heroines are wonderfully present in the world, strong-willed and determined.
marymuse on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Harriet Morton is eighteen years old (or nineteen according to the back cover copy) and her dreary life with her aunt and her college professor father is illuminated only by her ballet lessons. When Dubrov comes to her lessons, for he is a friend of her teacher, looking for girls to take across the ocean in a production of Swan Lake, he instantly sees Harriet's talent. Except, there's no way she'll be allowed to go. Not by her father, not by her aunt, and not by her equally dull college professor intended husband-to-be. But a chance encounter encourages her and Harriet will pursue her dreams no matter what.I loved the nontraditional setting, both in time and subject matter, of this book, used as I am to reading about urban fantasy and vampires and dragons. Harriet is a delightfully plucky young woman who doesn't whine or cry about her situation; she takes everything with aplomb. And when circumstances happen, she takes her chances, knowing full well what might happen.Though the plot does rely in several places on more "chance", something that this author and publisher found wearing towards the end of the book, it kept me engrossed and I had a hard time putting this book down. The story pulls you in and takes you along with prose that is appropriate to the time and very robust in its descriptions. So much so, that it did take me about a chapter to get into this story.If I had any complaints about this book, it would be the "chance" encounters and things that happen, as well as the way, I felt, the story because wrapped up all too neatly in the end. The epilogue showing Harriet and others ten years in the future was a nice touch, especially given that WWI had happened in the meantime.For lovers of the arts, lovers of a story, or young adult readers (or adults) looking for a story that teaches you that it is all right to follow your dreams at all costs, this is a highly recommended story.
krau0098 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This sounded like a super interesting book. All about ballerinas and a trip to the Amazon jungle. I listened to it on audio book and it made an absolutely fabulous audio book. I loved this book to death; it was adventurous, beautiful, sweet, and inspiring.Harriet Morton is the daughter of a professor. He starts teaching her at a young age and Harriet, being exceptionally smart, learns quickly. As she approaches adulthood her father (who is absolutely against anything but a traditional female role) decides that learning is too masculine for Harriet and ends all of her lessons except for her ballet lessons. One day at ballet school a man shows up who is planning a Ballet tour through the Amazon; he wants Harriet to join the dance company and come with them. Harriet's father is enraged and forbids it. Harriet shows some backbone and decides to chase her happiness by running away and joining the dance troupe. In the Amazon she meets an amazing rubber baron named Rom; together they challenge the bounds of proper English tradition.This was an amazing book. The characters were beautifully done and the plot was incredibly well woven together. There are many small things in the beginning of the novel that have huge effects on things that happen later in the book; the book was just so well thought out. There is a touch of humor throughout the novel so you will find yourself smiling a lot, if not laughing out loud.Harriet is a wonderful character; she is smart, graceful, kind, but refuses to give up her quest to be happy. In the Amazon she meets Rom Verney, an English nobleman who shares her passion for learning and for following his heart. Rom is an interesting character that has conflicted background. Even all of the side characters have interesting and intricate pasts. The best thing of all is that most of the people in this book are inherently good people. Even the bad people are just misled or misunderstood. It would be nice if all of society was as good as most the people in this book are.Ibbotson has quite a way with language. She writes intelligently and beautifully. The way she describes the scenes you feel like you are actually there looking at plants in the forest or feeling the heat beat on your skin. The number one way to describe this book is just beautiful through and through.At times you feel like maybe Harriet is a little bit too good, she is so sweet and good that is it unbelievable. Still it is refreshing to read about a gentle, yet strong, character that is very inspiring. Overall this is a feel good novel, everything ends exactly how you would wish it to end and (given what good people the characters are) you just couldn't wish any other type of ending on them.If you are interested in a beautiful, romantic novel that depicts an interesting era this is the book for you. I also learned a ton about ballet, the rubber mining in the Amazon, and about the Amazon itself. This was such an interesting, heartwarming, and adventurous book. I just loved it. It is one that I could definitely read again. This book made me check out more of Ibbotson's book...she definitely has a talent for this sort of writing.
Ameliaiif on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ehh...it was okay. As a former ballerina, I absolutely loved how ballet was incorporated into the story; it wasnt just used as a way to describe the characters, but it had its own place in the story. But past this general positive, my feelings about the book get a little more confused. This is the only Eva Ibbotson I've read (and you know, while it wasnt an awful read, I certainly dont feel the impulse to go out and read more of her stuff) and her writing style is descriptive and at times even elegant but her characters are very vacillated and her story pacing is really, REALLY weird. This is first and foremost a romance story (there's little to no actual "HISTORY" here) and so therefore the romantic aspect should be the most important and the one that carries the weight of the story. Well, the whole thing just left me feeling rather confused: the relationship is way WAY too rushed at the expense of a moderately-paced blossoming love story in which the reader gets to know the characters well and really see their relationship grow. What could have been sweet and "romantic" gets questionable and downright tawdry. And I consider myself one of the last true Romantics running around today. I love "happily-ever-afters." I love "true love" and all that jazz. But this is just weird. Now granted, there were some good dialogue segments here and there, but not evenly or properly spaced throughout the story. And this is just a personal pet peeve of mine, but I don't understand why authors feel the need to include "previous encounters" of the love interest... THIS IS NOT A CARFAX HISTORY REPORT! I dont want to know all the other people who have driven your car!!! And I am certainly not a progressive, but I found it just a bit weird that this seemingly good-natured, innocent but grounded character would be so quick to tramp herself up. Girls, when you're shacking up with someone on a regular basis (well, that is what "shacking up" means), that's trampy. When the main character (who is at the ripe old age of 18 i might add) communicates a willingness to live as a "kept woman," that's trampy. that's adultery, also. How is that romantic? Like I said before, the characters' profiles just seem to constantly contradict each other. The ballerina in me was satisfied, and there were SOME parts of the harriett-rom romance that i thought was sweet (i like it when guys "rescue" girls--not because girls cant do anything for themselves, but because guys need to get off their butts and be productive! Not because we're weak, because WE'RE WORTH IT!) but overall, not one of my favorites. Ann Rinaldi is still the queen of "HISTORYCAL FICTION" in my book!
theapothecary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A Comapany of Swans tells the story of Harriet Morton, an eighteen-year-old girl living with her Academic father Professor Morton and overly-frugal Aunt Louisa in a cold, dark house in 1912. Her only escape from this dreary life is her ballet class. One day, the Russian director of a ballet company comes looking for dancers to join the corps. She is refused permission to join the company on a tour to Manaus by her father, but after a visit to Stavely, a stately home in Suffolk, she decides to run away and join the company. Once in the Amazon, she meets a charming Englishman, Rom Verney, whom she discovers ran away from Stavely after his finacee left him for his elder brother. She falls in love with him, and, after many set-backs, they eventually find happiness together. I realy enjoyed this book; Mrs. Ibbotson's writing style is witty and intelligent. Her main characters are always likeable, without being annoyingly 'good', and this is no exception. The way Rom and Harriet are re-united is brilliant (and rather unexpected). I definitely recommend this one, and all Eva Ibbotsons books!
BookWhiz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A book about a girl born and destined to be a ballet dancer, but held from her dream from priggish parents and a stuffy suitor, this book will capture your heart, eyes, and brain all the way to the last page. Wonderfully woven in is humor, a fair amount of love, adventure, and of course a happy ending.
lanaing on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Harriet Morton lives a dull life in 1912 Cambridge with her academic father and her unpleasant aunt Louisa. In this dry life she is only allowed one escape: ballet. In Madam Lavarre¿s well-known ballet class, Harriet is chosen to be the ¿eighteenth swan¿ for a South American tour by a Russian ballet master. Disobeying her father and escaping a forced marriage, Harriet sneaks off and joins the Russian ballet on their journey to the Amazon. Unfortunately, while performing Swan Lake in a golden opera house, Harriet is in utter bliss and completely unaware that her father and her would-be fiancé have begun to track her down. . . .
mmillet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ibbotson is wonderful. I love her writing -- such descriptions about music, dance, plants and animals. In this story we get a glimpse of South America as she details the life of a girl who ran away from her oppressive family to join a ballet company performing in Brazil. Harriet is so young and refreshing and I loved Rom and his almost immediate attraction to her. Although sometimes it was a little weird how he wanted to protect her - almost like a father figure. I felt this book was a little more mature than her others. A story full of tragedy, humor, and love nicely developed that often left me guessing. I especially liked Henry as a little boy (and a grownup). I can just imagine him suffering through the measles with his impatient (and awful) mother. However, this book suffered from a very poor editor. I found typos. Lots of typos - never a good thing.And if you were wondering: I still like a Song for Summer the best, but this was a close second.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read one of Ms. Ibbotson's books before, which I enjoyed, and I had this book recommended to me. However, it was rather disappointing. For one thing, her family and would be fiancee were truly awful (though the goat ending was hysterical and surprising), as was wretched Isabel, and for another, there wasn't as much actually about ballet as I would have expected and enjoyed. The description of Brazil, its flora and fauna, was wonderful though. But what really spoiled the book for me was Harriet's morals - I felt that she, like Jane Eyre, ought to have respected herself. And I didn't like Marie-Claire's extracurricular dancing. However, the sexual immorality was endurable in that the language used was not erotic or explicit. Still disappointing and rather embarrassing.
anne40 More than 1 year ago
I loved the music, the flowers, and the wonderful larger than life characters. By the way, I am 75 years old and out the age range for this book. Thinking about this book makes me smile.
Willow_luv2 More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite books by her.
Curieuse More than 1 year ago
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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