Friday, May 24, 2013

Retro Friday Review: A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson

Retro Friday is a meme hosted by Angie of Angieville and "focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc."

A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication date: 1985 (HC), 2008 (audio)
Length: 10 hrs, 16 min
Source: Audiobook from Library
For: Driving sanity (YA Audiobook Challenge)

Harriet has been oppressed by her father and her aunt for years, her only joy coming from her ballet classes. But when even this is threatened, Harriet decides to take a chance and run away to South America with a ballet company. There she meets the mysterious and rich Rom Verney and gains experiences she never expected to have in her lifetime.

Things I Liked:
This was a pretty interesting story, especially for anyone who loves ballet (I don't particularly).  I liked Harriet for the most part, but I especially liked watching her come out of her shell and recognize her worth over the course of the book.  The historical setting and also the South American setting kind of gelled together to make a sweet little story.  I listened to this one on audio, and that probably wasn't the best format for it, as the writing tends to be a bit flowery and loquacious at times, which is sometimes hard to follow.  The narrator, Patricia Conolly, did a pretty good job with it, though it was dull at times.  I was entertained, though I think I would have liked it more at a different stage in my life.  The love story would have been awesome to me a few years ago, but not so much anymore (and I have no idea why that is).

Things I Didn't Like:
I have to admit, it got a bit boring.  We listened to this one on a long drive and it just kind of made my eyes glaze over.  While I thought the story was interesting, it was very much predictable.  In fact, a few times I turned to my husband and said, this is what's going to happen.  And then it did.  He wondered how I knew, but it just seemed so obvious.  Also, I was a bit annoyed by Harriet's decision to become a "fallen" woman at the end.  I found it a bit too much change too quickly.  And it seemed a bit over the top in the treatment she received from the hands of her family, though I suppose it wasn't entirely unrealistic for the time.  I rolled my eyes a few times, but managed to enjoy it in places as well.  


A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson
And a multitude of other Ibbotson titles, probably

s-factor: !
maybe a few

mrg-factor: X
nothing described on page, but she does become fallen :)

v-factor: none

Overall rating: ***

I've not been really impressed with Ibbotson's books thus far.  Is there one I really need to try before I give up?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage

1 comment :

  1. I think one of the problems with audiobooks is that it tacks longer to listen than it does to read. Thus books might seem a tad boring when it is really only the format with which we are getting the story.


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