A Company Of Swans by Eva Ibbotson

It’s a good cover this, yep.

A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I think sometimes Eva Ibbotson can be so perfect that you can’t quite figure out how she can be better, and then she writes: “At which point there entered a deus ex machina.
It entered in an unexpected form: that of a lean, rangy and malodorous chicken.” and you just realise that she can get better, and it’s kind of blindingly brilliant how she does it, and just worship every inch of this glorious, glorious book.

A Company Of Swans is stunning. A whimsical, wild, romantic delight. Harriet lives a dry and ineffably dull existence in scholarly Cambridge, set to be married to a rather dry and ineffably dull man, and the only light in her world is her ballet classes. One day when she is offered a job with a touring company on its way to the Amazon, the light in her world seems to grow a little brighter. But her family refuses. It is not appropriate for her to go and so she shall not.

Will she go? Of course, for this is an Eva Ibbotson and such things were never in doubt. I loved the scenes of the dancers together for Ibbotson’s eye for lived and real detail here is a marvellous thing. She makes it all burn with life and realism, and her ability with character is so, so on form here. En pointe, perhaps. Her description of the elderly women who fiercely chaperone Harriet and make sure nothing untoward happens are delightful, and I adored how she wrote the ballerinas. It’s easy to slide into caricature, I think, but it’s hard to make even the complex and challenging characters lovable and real. And yet Ibbotson does this because she’s very, very good.

And then there’s Rom! The mysterious hot hottie love interest! Proud, complicated and fiercely dashing, he is EXCELLENT, honestly there’s a scene at the end which is literally the very definition of fabulous. In the pantheon of Ibbotson Hot Hotties, he is very near the top.

I was sent a copy of this in its new and rather beautiful packaging from Macmillan. My thanks to them for that, and my apologies that it took me so long to get round to (re)reading it.

View all my reviews

2 thoughts on “A Company Of Swans by Eva Ibbotson

  1. I have an earlier edition of this yet to read and am so looking forward to it. The fact that there’s talk of a visit to the Amazon reminds me of her Journey to the River Sea and makes me wonder, did Ibbotson ever go to South America and visit that extraordinary opera house?

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