Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson

genre: young adult

Harriet's life is dismal. Horrid, really, destined to remain with her professor father and uptight aunt until marriage to a similarly unfortunate man.  The world of the early 20th century holds so much promise, both within England and beyond, but Harriet has no way to grasp it until one day at her ballet class, she is given the opportunity of a lifetime.  To travel to South America and dance on a renowned stage is all the adventure she's ever dreamed of, but of course, there is no way she'd be allowed to go.

But of course, she DOES go, because that's our story - her journey to and in the Amazon, the man she meets there and the dancing itself.  It's a romance novel at its heart - not graphic or steamy, but romantic all the same, with its misunderstandings and undying passions.  I cannot deny that I allowed myself to be swept along - Harriet is incredibly naive and almost too perfect, but she's also scrappy and delightfully curious and you sort of feel like a jerk when you find her over the top.  So, I decided to like her and invest in her story and even though part of the ending felt a bit far-fetched, it was just the sort of fluffy read I was looking for this weekend.  Ibbotson writes so solidly within a time period and place, the convergence of London and the rivers of South America's rubber industry was an intriguing contrast and something I've never read about before.

While it wasn't life-changing, it let me slip out of my daily life for a while and I will definitely read more by this author when a romantic book like this is just the thing.

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