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01 February 2010

Book Review: Island of the Swans by Ciji Ware

Title: Island of the Swans
Author: Ciji Ware
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark; Reissue edition
Publication Date: February 1, 2010
Paperback: 592 Pages
ISBN: 978-1402222689
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance


From the Publisher:

Re-issued in its original full length, this acclaimed and bestselling historical romance by award-winning author Ciji Ware tells the true story of passionate and flamboyant Jane Maxwell, the 4th Duchess of Gordon (1749-1812). In love since childhood with Thomas Fraser, when she hears that he's been killed in America, she marries the Duke of Gordon with disastrous results. But Fraser, very much alive, returns to England to claim her love.

In addition to telling a heart-wrenching love story, Island of the Swans also paints a fascinating portrait of a powerful and controversial woman, and the tumultuous era in which she lived. Patroness of poet Robert Burns, advisor to King George, painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds, Jane Maxwell was a towering figure in her own time, and is an unforgettable heroine.

My Review:

Island of the Swans by Ciji Ware is a deliciously wonderful novel of fiction and history culminating into a rich historical romance filled with tender affection and wrenching heartache. Jane Maxwell is a fiercely independent young woman who, by unfortunate circumstances, is unable to be with her true love Thomas Frasier. Between her mother and Thomas' godfather, the two young lovers are torn apart as Thomas is sent to the continent as a young soldier. Word travels back to Jane that he has died a most dreadful death. During her mourning she befriends Alexander Gordon, the 4th Duke of Gordon and Jane's mother once again meddles and soon has her daughter married off. While Jane tried to be a good wife, she cannot stop thinking of her love for Thomas. Island of the Swans is a beautifully written novel filled with distinctive prose, extraordinary attention to details to the housing, clothing, and food of the time, as well as realistic and memorable characters. The prevailing theme of love is interwoven into several subplots, resulting in an amazing story of how love and the desire to be loved can overcome all obstacles. Island of the Swans is an absolutely brilliant novel that will draw the reader in and not let go. I strongly recommend this novel and think it would be a perfect group discussion book, as there are so many delightful facets of this novel to be explored.

About the Author:

In addition to her career as a novelist, Ciji Ware was a reporter and commentator on radio and television in Los Angeles for more than twenty years. She majored in history and was the first woman graduate of Harvard College to serve as president of the University's worldwide Harvard Alumni Association. Her numerous awards include an Emmy, and a Dupont for her television work, a Silver Gavel for magazine journalism, and the Dorothy Parker Award of Excellence for her historical novel, Island of the Swans. Ciji is also a sought-after event speaker, print journalist, and the author of 6 historical novels, as well as the nonfiction work Rightsizing Your Life --selected by the Wall Street Journal as one of the "Top 5 Books on Retirement" for 2007. She lives with her husband, Internet Marketing executive Tony Cook, in the maritime village of Sausalito, seven minutes across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. She often commutes to New York to visit her grown son and daughter-in-law.

I received a free copy of Island of the Swans by Ciji Ware from Sourceboks. Receiving a free copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned novel.



Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

This really looks like a wonderful read Jennifer! I really am in the mood for a good historical fiction.

Michelle said...

This sounds great! I'll have to add it to my list!

Cym Lowell said...

Very good review. I could really tell you enjoyed this book.

Thanks for linking up. As always, I enjoy reading what you write.


Pricilla said...

I think I may have read this first time around but would love to read it again. The story just sounds so familiar to me...thanks for a great review!

IceJewel said...

I have heard about this one ! thanks for he review :)
Oh..please do tell me which authors do you think are best for historical fiction books.I love reading them, but, I hardly know any good ones :(

Jenny Girl said...

Perfectly concise review Jennifer. I throughly enjoyed this novel too :)

Teddyree said...

Thanks for your wonderful review, it's definitely going on my wishlist!

Muse in the Fog said...

Great review, short and to the point! This was such a heart wrenching book and I completely agree that it would be perfect for a group discussion.

If you want to read my review for it here is the link: ""
I also have an interview with Ciji that you can find linked through the review :)

stacybuckeye said...

I adored this one when I read it years ago. I went on to read all fo her books and am really looking forward to her new release!