My mother tried — goodness knows she tried — to instill in me a love of ballet, taking me to as many performances as she could, but though I enjoyed watching others performed I never understood why anyone would want to be a dancer. Set in , A Company of Swans is the tale of Harriet Morton, the sheltered and bookish daughter of a Cambridge professor. Withdrawn from school after showing alarming bluestocking tendencies, Harriet lives under the control of her strict father and humourless aunt. Facing the prospect of marriage to an ambitious but terribly dull young zoologist, Edward Finch-Dutton, and with no friends to confide in, Harriet is quite miserable. Reading alleviates her loneliness somewhat but it is no substitute for human interaction: Loneliness had taught Harriet that there was always someone who understood — it was just that so very often they were dead, and in a book. Her only joy comes from her dancing lessons, where she excels.
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She did not start writing adult fiction until late in life and, when she did, set a high goal for herself. My aim is to produce books that are light, humorous, even a little erudite, but secure in their happy endings.
One could call it an attempt to write, in words, a good Viennese waltz! Set in , the novel opens in Cambridge, England, where the heroine, Harriet Morton, is not enjoying the elegant opulence and broadened female horizons often associated with the Edwardian era.
Instead, as the daughter of an elderly and dogmatic Cambridge don — who raises her with the help of her equally repressive spinster aunt — Harriet has very little joy to her existence. But, alas, this suitor — a collector of insects — is in his own way just as stuffy as her aunt and father. Petersburg and one of the many charmingly eccentric minor characters with which Ibbotson skillfully sprinkles her novel.
Soon afterward, the aunt and the other ladies of the Trumpington Tea Circle drag Harriet along on a visit to a nearby estate. There Harriet ventures off by herself and encounters the young lord of the manor, a lonely boy name Henry, whose family is plagued with financial and other burdens.
The book, coincidentally, is about traveling to the Amazon, and Harriet explains how she has been refused permission to make a trip to just that very place. Harriet promises that, should she make it to the Amazon, she will do so. Seeing the meeting with Henry as a serendipitous, almost fairy-tale-like coincidence, Harriet is now determined to escape her family and join the ballet company on the trip to Manaus.
After various machinations she manages to reach the troupe in London and sail with them to Brazil. The romance between Rom and Harriet develops gradually and beautifully, with plenty of excitement, whimsy, pathos, and humor along the way — including the reappearance of Henry in the clutches his venal mother, not to mention the bug-loving boyfriend, who comes to Brazil to fetch Harriet but seems even more interested in the rare insects of tropical climes. Her fiction for adults includes three other enjoyable novels that qualify as romances — A Countess Below Stairs, The Morning Gift, and Magic Flutes — as well as the somewhat less qualified Madensky Square and a book of short stories.
Though most of these books have appeared in paperback from Avon and do pop up at used-book stores, they first came out in hard cover and should be available through interlibrary loans at most libraries.
A Company of Swans
Plot summary[ edit ] Harriet Morton lives in Cambridge with her widowed father, the overprotective Professor Morton who teaches Classics at the University , and her controlling Aunt Louisa, who wishes her to marry an uninteresting entomology professor named Edward Finch-Dutton. When Harriet is two years old her mother dies from pneumonia. One day, a lesson is visited by Sasha Dubrov, a famous ballet master who asks Harriet to join his company for a tour of South America, which will begin in Manaus. Professor Morton tells Harriet that going to South America is too dangerous. Shortly after this incident, Harriet joins Edward, Aunt Louisa and the rest of the Trumpington Tea Circle on a tour of Stavely, an old stately home which is beginning to fall into disrepair. While there, she leaves the group to explore the maze in the grounds, within which she meets Henry St. The pair meet at a party Rom throws in his capacity as chairman of the Opera House trustees, and are instantly attracted to each other.
Learn how and when to remove this template message Eva Ibbotson began writing with the television drama Linda Came Today, which the British "Television Playhouse" series broadcast in December WorldCat libraries report holding Which Witch? She wrote Journey in honour of her husband, a former naturalist who had just died; the book had been in her head for years. Ibbotson had said she disliked "financial greed and a lust for power", and often created antagonists in her books who have these characteristics. Adult books[ edit ] Ibbotson was also noted for several works of fiction for adults. Several have been reissued successfully for the young-adult market, some under different titles.
Desert Isle Keeper
She did not start writing adult fiction until late in life and, when she did, set a high goal for herself. My aim is to produce books that are light, humorous, even a little erudite, but secure in their happy endings. One could call it an attempt to write, in words, a good Viennese waltz! Set in , the novel opens in Cambridge, England, where the heroine, Harriet Morton, is not enjoying the elegant opulence and broadened female horizons often associated with the Edwardian era. Instead, as the daughter of an elderly and dogmatic Cambridge don — who raises her with the help of her equally repressive spinster aunt — Harriet has very little joy to her existence.
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