Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Review: The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova

Hardcover, 576 pages

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Released: Jan 12 2010

ISBN: 978-0316065788

Recommended for: mystery & fiction fans

My rating: 3.5 /5

My thoughts:

Artist Robert Oliver is stopped short of attacking a painting at the National Art Gallery. He is referred to Psychiatrist Andrew Marlowe, in hopes that their common love of painting will help bring Robert out of his self-imposed silence. With Robert refusing to speak, Marlowe is forced to search his past to find out what took him over the edge. As Marlowe meets the women in Robert's life, he discovers there's a mystery woman that seems to haunt Robert. Using letters Robert carries with him, Marlowe uncovers a tragic past that not only releases Robert from the hell he's been living but alters art history.

Elizabeth seamlessly weaves two stories into one through the use of 19th century letters and how they relate to Robert's story. Adding another layer to the story, chapters are told from alternating points of view as we learn about Robert from Marlowe, his ex-wife and his girlfriend. This story is filled with things that transcend time - love, anger, passion & mystery.

One of the things I love when reading is being given clues along the way & trying to guess the ending - boy, was I thrown for a loop with this one. Although everything wraps up nicely in the end, as Robert's actions & how they relate to the past were ultimately explained, I feel Robert's story was cut short. Now that we know the cause, is he 'cured'?

A read I really enjoyed at the time, but the more I think of it, the more I find things now that frustrate me in the story.


  1. The reviews really seem mixed on this book; i guess I'll have to read it soon and decide for myself. Great review Dawn.

  2. Sorry this wasn't a better experience for you. I can't wait for my copy to see what I think of it.

  3. Diane ~ I haven't looked around at other reviews, but her other book, The Historian, also received very mixed reviews.

    Sandra ~ it was so strange, I loved this book all the way, even when I finished it I was like WOW! Then I starting thinking about the story for my review and the more I thought about it, the more things I found that annoyed me. I was shocked to see my WOW go to huh?