Sourcebooks Landmark Reissue, February 1, 2010
Review copy provided by Sourcebooks,Thank you!
The story of Jane Maxwell Duchess of Gordon, in the 18thc, as told by the excellent author, Ciji Ware is a masterpiece read; an epic on its own. I hadn’t really read much about this feisty Duchess who climbed to the highest rank of nobility. Fashionable, politically savvy, doting mom, business woman…but in this magnificent novel, she mostly wears her role as a love-torn woman whose soul could never find peace.
The story begins with Jane as a mischievous young girl, who defies her mother in more ways than one. Against her mother’s will, her best friend, Thomas Fraser would become her secret betrothed. Thomas’ uncle, Simon Fraser, being of the same mind as Jane’s mother, would come into a pact with the latter to make sure the two youngsters stayed apart forever. It was Jane’s mother’s wish that her most beautiful daughter marry in the highest ranks of nobility. For Simon Fraser, the family lands needed to be fought for and salvaged back to their rightful owners of the Highlands, the Fraser family…and so…
Thomas Fraser is sent off as a Scottish soldier to fight the American war. Although Jane begs him to stay, Thomas is excited about this adventure and promises to marry her when he gets back. Their last evening together at a beautiful ball filled with dancing and merriment, Jane, who is angry that Thomas is leaving, decides to make him jealous. She dances with the dashing Duke of Gordon. A brawl almost erupts between the two young men who don’t like eachother to begin with (a story starting way back when the three of them were all very young…and where Jane succumbs to a terrible accident..)
So, off goes Thomas and (I need to skip a spoiler here- and jump to)…Jane Maxwell marries the Duke of Gordon..huh? Yeah, you need to read the story to understand what really happens here..;
This saga is tragic to say the least. It is an emotional roller-coaster from beginning to end. First of all, the book is no menial chunkster at 565 pages- so settle in comfy cause you’re in for bouts of hopes and delusions-a real tear jerker. Although this novel is mainly about a mega love story, there is a lot of interesting history involving well-known historical figures, such as: Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire (Jane’s ultimate political and fashion rival), George III and his Queen (who love Jane), The Princes and many more. I loved to read about their interactions, the civil war happening in America, the Whigs and the Torys- but yes, of course, what stole the show was Jane Maxwell’s constant search for happiness and thirst for love.
Island of The Swans is the kind of book that I can totally see being made for the Big Screen… Gone With The Wind kind of style- Absolutely. If there is one thing though that did turn me off a little, that was the too many racy love scenes. I could have done with fewer of those (they seemed to be interjected in there constantly). And although I do understand the author’s reasoning behind a few of these, some of the details, I personally found a bit too graphic for my liking.
But other than that, this was a phenomenal read!
For another fantastic review, see Marie at The Burton Review
For Giveaways of Island of The Swans and Author Guest Posts go to:
I'm also entering this one in the 4 Month Challenge under novel based on Civil War.