Customer Reviews


23 Reviews
5 star:
 (15)
4 star:
 (4)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Epic Tale Told In a Rich and Beautiful Environment
I didn't realise how much i had enjoyed this book and become involved in it until after i had finished the book and began to realise that the wonderful world that it had created was no more.

I started to miss the characters, the story, the setting.

In the story we follow the adventure of Harriet Morton as she leaves home, of her own accord from her...
Published on 5 Dec 2008 by Amazon Customer

versus
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read, not her best.
Really good beginning, vivid, likable characters, Ibbotson returns to her beloved South American setting where she excels in describing the flora and fauna. You are immediately sucked into the story and captivated.

It feels like the author can't be bothered towards the end though and it's all a little contrived, hence only 3 stars.
Published on 12 Oct 2008 by Ms. D. Llewellyn


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Epic Tale Told In a Rich and Beautiful Environment, 5 Dec 2008
By 
Amazon Customer (New Malden, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Company of Swans (Paperback)
I didn't realise how much i had enjoyed this book and become involved in it until after i had finished the book and began to realise that the wonderful world that it had created was no more.

I started to miss the characters, the story, the setting.

In the story we follow the adventure of Harriet Morton as she leaves home, of her own accord from her father and step mother, to persue her dreams in the world of ballet in the Amazon.

The innocence and wholeheartedness of Harriet wins over many. During her travels she meets Rom - who relocated from England out to the Amazon after the love of his life left him for his brother due to their father changing his will and leaving the estate to him.

The many threads of the story develop and progress, the author painting wonderful images of all the diverse settings. As the story reaches its climax the reader finds the many strands of the story starting to mesh together to form a complete piece. Seemingly separate pieces from separate jigsaws come together in a way that is hard to predict.

The overall themes of the novel are ones of adventure, rebellion, and youth; yet morality, love, respect and truth are kept elevated throughout the story making the book both uplifting and a morally good and positive tale.

A wonderful journey and a novel that makes for a rewarding read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars enchantingly funny romance for intelligent readers, 16 July 2002
By 
A. Craig "Amanda Craig" (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Company of Swans (Paperback)
I read Company of Swans years ago before discovering Ibbotson's wonderful novels for children, and was amazed by how much I remembered. She really is several cuts above the usual kind of romance writer, being steeped in culture (music especially) and a sense of character that bring her closer to the ideal world of Jane Austen than the deplorable vogue for chick lit.
Set in the Edwardian era, the novel follows the adventures of Harriet, daughter of a grim and joyless Cambridge professor (academics are always awful in Ibbotson's world)who runs away to join the ballet. The Company are bound for Manaus, the city up the Amazon that Maia also travels to in Journey to the River Sea. It's prima ballerina is a fading Russian star who sees that this plain, intelligent lonely girl has talent; but Harriet has promised an equally lonely small boy that she will find his uncle Rom, who is a rubber-planter in Manaus. Fabulously rich and devastatingly handsome, Rom has mistresses galore but none intrigue him as much as the plain girl dancing in the corps. Meanwhile, Harriet's vile father and aunt have sent the man they want her to marry in hot pursuit of her before she is ruined...
The plot is less conventional than it sounds, and full of delightful descriptions of character and place. An excellent entertaining read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delicious, rewarding, utterly enjoyable book, 23 Mar 2009
This review is from: A Company of Swans (Paperback)
I have read many other Eva Ibbotson books and this one is just as brilliant.

The novel is set in the early twentieth century (1915 I think?) Harriet is a small intelligent girl with a passion for dancing, who is trapped in her father's loveless cold, grey house.She is then offered a position in the Dubrov Ballet Company and has a huge row with her father because he won't let her go. Then, when she and her aunt's "Tea Ladies", go to visit the Brandon family mansion, Stavely, Harriet has a chance meeting with a small boy called Henry, which sets the story rolling.
This story is wonderfully descriptive, making you feel you really are there seeing what Harriet is seeing, and feeling what she is feeling. The characters are all very unique and endearing and you will remember them long after the last page is turned.

I am in awe of Mrs Ibbotson, a talented author, because of the wonderful way she can describe such deep true love! Wow!
Everyone should buy this book. Young and old. And if you have other Eva Ibbotson books on your shelf you need this one too! They will be lonely without it :)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read, not her best., 12 Oct 2008
By 
Ms. D. Llewellyn (uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Company of Swans (Paperback)
Really good beginning, vivid, likable characters, Ibbotson returns to her beloved South American setting where she excels in describing the flora and fauna. You are immediately sucked into the story and captivated.

It feels like the author can't be bothered towards the end though and it's all a little contrived, hence only 3 stars.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing happens in this story that you can't see coming chapters away., 23 Feb 2014
Although the South American setting is unusual and beautifully described, every thing else about this tale is formulaic and predictable. I saw how the cake incident would turn out before Edward even arrived on the scene, Mrs Brandons part in the plot was obvious even before she left England, I could even predict her husband's death. No, not because I am precognitive, as handy as that would be, I'm not. I simply know these things because this story is sadly let down by dot to dot plotting that no amount of window dressing with exotic locations, zoological terminology or theatrical soap operas can disguise.
My rating would be more generous if my enjoyment had not been curtailed by knowing what was coming long before it arrived. How I would have welcomed something happening that had not been telegraphed ahead chapters before! What's the point of a pretty package for your present if you not only know what's in the box, but you already have what it contains?
Its unfortunate, the characters are mostly well drawn and the author appears to have done a great deal of research, but that cannot make up for the reader having nothing to look forward to because the plot is so obvious.
Also, Harriet is described as moral but frankly she is a bit too wishy washy for that. When she decides to meekly submit to Rom ravishing her I quite honestly wanted to give her a good shaking. For some one whose inspiration is a Roman General she's sadly lacking pluck.
There is not much to offend, no swearing or bedroom scenes, but much of the humour is rather farcical and juvenile, only the Russian characters adding humour that rises above that level.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A Pleasant and Sweet Read, 21 July 2011
This review is from: A Company of Swans (Paperback)
Eva Ibbotson's `A Company of Swans' is a pleasant book and well worth reading. While it is not my favourite of her novels, it contains the little quirks and charms that have become signature to her work.

We are swept into the world of Harriet Morton; whose mother is dead and father is a strict old-fashioned academic. Harriet is forced to leave school as her father does not believe in the education of women but finds refuge in ballet classes. Longing to escape her tedious life, she is delighted when she is offered job with a ballet company in South America. Harriet readily accepts but her father tries to prevent her from leaving. She escapes though and in South America she meets the most wonderful people. However, her father is still angry and will stop at nothing to bring her home...

Harriet is a delightful character and is quite likeable. You do want to discover what happens to her. Her father is so dull and horrid that he is almost laughable, as is her suitor from England. I found the section of the book set in the Amazon was definitely the most interesting and engaging part of the book. Ibbotson's love for the Amazon is clear and makes it all the more enjoyable. As usual Ibbotson's writing flows very well and is filled with her whimsical charm.

While I did enjoy `A Company of Swans' and would recommend it, it is not my favourite of her novels. None the less, it is still a very pleasant way to spend your time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A refreshingly enthralling light hearted romance, 29 Oct 2010
This review is from: A Company of Swans (Paperback)
have read a few of Eva Ibbotson's adult books (that are now marketed at teenagers) before and A Company of Swans created a just as or even more enthralling world than her other books.
One of my first thoughts when I finished the book was 'what an intricately designed and very real world I was just left.' Through the meticulous description of the relationships between the large cast of characters, the flora and fauna of the Amazon jungle, the art of ballet and detailed plot, Ibbotson's writing created a world of a particular group of people and their connections that I fully believed was possible to have existed.

In this novel, there was an interesting array of characters from varying backgrounds and distinct personalities. What made the characterisation so strong for me was the secondary/supporting characters, which I find can often make or break the book and be the difference between a flat book and words that come alive. We meet the do-gooders, the eccentric tea ladies who make Harriet's life a misery, endearing but odd little Henry who wants to be an explorer in the Amazon, the French beauty Marianne who befriends Harriet, Simonova, the prima ballerina of the company, Harriet's cowardly and awkward suitor who studies insects and many more.

The protagonist Harriet- Harriet is a determined and emotional character, but can appear to be a bit wishy washy. She is very kind, graceful and loyal and also clever. In appearance, is described as looking plain and a bit serious but 'grave looking eyes' with brown hair. However, her 'plainness' actually becomes her charm. When it comes to dancing, Harriet is always very passionate and extremely hard working to catch up for her lack of experience and prestigious training. She also loves the wild Amazon and learning about the names of the hundreds upon thousands of species of animals and plants. I found Harriet likable, especially when she came out of her shell but I felt that she was a bit too unflawed: she always did the right thing, said the right thing and nearly everyone liked her.
The male lead Rom- Rom is a rich and dashing rubber plantation owner who I won't reveal too much about because I don't want to spoil the story. I thought that his relationship with Harriet was lovely, especially the need to protect her and his treasured feelings for her were very well conveyed and showed that he always thought of what was best for her.

I loved the idea of using the Amazon for the setting, it was the perfect place and I've never come across a book set there before and I'm not sure if there are any other books set in the mainly unexplored Amazons in the 1900s. It made the book more unique and was fantastic for plot opportunities and descriptions, fitting in with the whole book perfectly.
Quite a lot of the book was set in the theatre where Harriet and the Dubrov ballet company performed and the way ballet was woven straight through the plot and not just as a theme was lovely . The descriptions of the ballet performances were magical and at some points, I found them more compelling than the romance itself.

The setting and themes made sure that there was something for everyone to particularly enjoy whether a ballet lover, someone with a keen sense of adventure and exploration or a romance fan.

As I mentioned previously, the plot of this novel was very intricate and followed the lives and relationships of a lot of characters but still kept the romance central. I found that the plot was very well paced, which gave time for you to absorb the unfamiliarity of Harriet's world. Ibbotson thought out this book very well and there were many small details at the beginning of the book that fell into place at the end. Her planning and skill also shows in the fact that something that could have turned into a complicated tangle fell into place effortlessly. The only pitfall of the plot was that some of the times Harriet and Rom were able to spend time together were slightly too coincidental but the beauty and cleverness of the storyline far outweighed that.

Verdict: This refreshingly enchanting story and light hearted romance set in the Amazon that verged on the fairy tale like was such a beautiful book with wonderful descriptions and the added magic of a ballet theme.

It is such a shame that the author died recently, she was a shining star in both children's and adult's literature.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A Company Of Swans by Eva Ibbotson, 29 Aug 2010
This review is from: A Company of Swans (Paperback)
Yet again, this author has written a storey truly worthy of five stars! Her knowlage on her subjects are well researched and put together, the over all effect being a story of adventure, defiance and love.

Harriet was brought up in a house of strict rules, under the watchful eye of her aunt, who wouldn't waste anything or use things she felt were not needed. She was a quiet child, quite the opposite of the baby she once was when her mother was alive. Her father a Professor, left Harriet under the ruling of his sister and her friends, and they together decided what Harriet could ware, where she could go, who she could speak to - and who she was to marry. This particular role fell down to Edward, a young teacher at the university who was considered suitable for Harriet. What none of them understood was Harriet's passion for ballet. At her dance class's she came alive and that, was what she lived for. So when a offer comes to dance with a real ballet travelling to the Amazon, she can not believe it. Neither can her father, and utterly outraged that she can be offered a job (his daughter!) and he bans her from accepting. A few letters and some money latter, Harriet finds her self in a grand opera house, surrounded by a wild jungle. There she meets Rom, the chairman of the opera house trusties, and a fellow Englishman. But Harriet 's father is determined to get her home, and sends Edward out to find her. . .

This storey as is the way with Mrs Ibbotson, is all intertwined from the first page, and like all of her books, gets better every time you read it!

This, in my option along with The Morning Gift, is the best of her books for teens.

Happy reading!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars vagador, 9 Feb 2010
This review is from: A Company of Swans (Paperback)
I bought it for granddaughter,but read it myself and really enjoyed it.written with a great understanding of victorian treatment of women, and a knowledge of the romantic world of ballet.i have passed it to my daughter to enjoy.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars this is a wonderfull romantic book, 17 Nov 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: A Company of Swans (Paperback)
A very well written romantic, witty, and touching novel with very nice characters, who live on in the mind long after the story has ended. It's a book I read again and again, just like Ibbotsons "A countess below stairs". She creates a very enchanting world.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

A Company of Swans
A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson (Paperback - 4 July 2008)
5.59
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews