Book Review: The Swan Thieves

The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova

The blurb: Psychiatrist Andrew Marlowe has a perfectly ordered life ? solitary, perhaps, but full of devotion to his profession and the painting hobby he loves. This order is destroyed when renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery of Art and becomes his patient. Desperate to understand the secret that torments this genius, Marlowe embarks on a journey that leads him into the lives of the women closest to Oliver and a tragedy at the heart of French Impressionism.

Kostova’s masterful new novel travels from American cities to the coast of Normandy; from the late nineteenth century to the late twentieth, from young love to last love. The Swan Thieves is a story of obsession, history’s losses, and the power of art to preserve hope.

My review: I want to start this review on a positive note. I read The Historian before I started this blog but if I had read it after and reviewed it I would’ve given it ten stars out of ten, without question, a book I just couldnt put down.

I approached The Swan Thieves with trepidation, could that mastery be performed twice. I was sadly disappointed. To be brutally honest I didnt finish it. There are so many amazing books around at the moment that when you reach page 258 of a book and its still not grabbed you, its time to put it down and walk away. It’s not a bad story, I hear there’s a twist at the ending which Im going to have to look up on wikipedia but it lacks the mystery and drive of The Historian.

The characters are interesting, you do care about them, especially the ones in the past I found. But the pace is slow, very slow. You need to dedicate yourself to this book, the writing style is lovely and Kostova has made creative writing a fine art. For me though I want to be hooked in by my literature, for it to pull me into another world/story/life that keeps me enthralled and reaching for it again. This one sadly made me want to reach for something else. Out of respect for the writing it’s a five.

Five out of Ten stars *****

BUY ME! The Swan Thieves

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