Sunday, June 6, 2010

Review - A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson (5/5 stars)

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.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- The Young Adult Reading Challenge
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
- Summer Romance Reading Challenge
A Company of Swans 

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