Monday, November 22, 2010

Persy -- A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson

Ballerinas sailing down the amazon in the year 1912. Do I have your attention?

Meet Harriet Morton, daughter of a strict an intolerant professor who is strongly against female students. And that wouldn't be that bad for Harriet, since she isn't greatly interested in school, but when she is invited to go on a ballet tour of South America, her father bans her from her ballet lessons. Harriet has never fought her father for anything, but she does for this. If she stays, she will most likely be forced to marry the very uninteresting Edward Finch-Dutton.

Harriet is sure that she will never be able to go on the tour, but her mind changes when she meets young Henry St. John Verney-Brandon, who tells her all about "The Boy" who left many years ago and went to travel the Amazon. The strange coincidence makes Harriet even more determined to go on the tour, especially after promising young Henry that she will try and find "The Boy".

So Harriet cooks up a little scheme and runs away from home, leaving her guardians thinking she is off visiting a respectable friend. She joins the the ballet company, and off they go to Manaus, South America.

Through various happenstances, Harriet meets Rom Verney, a wealthy Englishman living in Manaus. She soon confirms that he is "The Boy". They also soon fall in love. But alas, things are not so simple. In fact, things get so complicated that I'm not going to put it all down here, because I really don't know where to start. Suffice to say that Edward Finch-Dutton comes after Harriet while other people come after Rom. There are misunderstandings and wrong assumptions, and everything goes to pieces in the end (or does it?).

Now, you all know I'm a dancer (or, you do now), so perhaps this book appeals to me more than the average reader. But despite any prejudices I might have, this book is AWESOME. It's much more of a romance than I was expecting (never judge a book by its back summary), but I wouldn't classify it as a romance novel. Besides, Rom is awesome and Harriet isn't all that bad. Generally, I strongly dislike at least one of the main characters in most books (especially romance novels), but these characters were great.

The story also was quite well down, full of plot twists and even a few surprises I didn't see coming. Like I said before though, some of it gets a little complicated and you have to be paying attention in order to fully understand everything.

So if you're a dancer, a romance-reader, a historical-reader, or a character-reader, go find this book. I breathe a happy little sigh every time I think about it, and it's on my "Buy ASAP" list. I mean really, how can you go wrong with ballerinas in South America during 1912?


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