A Company of Swans

By Eva Ibbotson
Classification: YA fiction
Genre: Historical fiction, romance
Age Level: 13+
Subjects: Ballet, early 20th century, English society, sexism, South American colonies

Reader’s Annotation:  When Harriett Morton runs away from her oppressive father’s household to join a traveling ballet company bound for the Amazon, she falls in love with enigmatic Rom Verney and refuses to return home even after her father tracks her down.

Summary:  Harriet Morton’s father is Merlin Professor of the Classics at Kings College in Cambridge.  Professor Morton is sexist, frugal and narrow-minded, and he envisions for his daughter a life married to a respectable academic.  He has even selected the perfect candidate:  fussy, unimaginative entomologist Edward Finch-Dutton, whose great ambition is to classify as many species of fleas as he can discover.  Harriet has other ideas for her life.  A gifted ballet dancer, she is offered a position in the corps of a traveling company journeying to the Amazon.  Harriet goes against her father’s wishes and after her debut performance meets British exile Rom Verney.  They quickly fall in love, but their dreams for the future are threatened when Harriet’s father and would-be fiancé track her all the way to South America.

Notes:  This historical romance has all the sophistication and story-telling finesse of adult romance writers Jude Devareaux and Judith McNaught without the steamy (and usually cheesy) love scenes.
Flags: 4

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