Wow, I thought this day would never come... being pain free enough (well, almost pain free) to finally write about some of the books I just finished reading! :-) This blog is about The Swan House by Elizabeth Musser. I believe I downloaded this as a free book through Amazon.com, but I'm not completely sure. I've looked up the second book for this series and it's way beyond what I can currently pay for in an ebook, so unfortunately I don't think I'll be reading that book anytime soon.
Well, let's get back to the book... now this is what I like in mystery type of books. This book was awesome. If you look up this book it will probably fall under religious fiction, but that was just a small part of the story for me. It was not a murder mystery, but a mystery still - and a very good one! The main character, Mary Swan, is a 16 year old high school junior that was chosen to solve a very important puzzle for her school. It would have been just a regular fun challenge if it did not relate to her recently deceased mother.
So, this is where the mystery part starts in the book... Mary Swan gets her riddle that she has 8 months to solve, she finds out that her mom has died in a horrible plane crash. The riddle is about 3 paintings that were supposed to be donated to a local museum and one was a painting from her mother... but just before the paintings were to be taken to the museum, they disappeared. So part of Mary Swan's healing and dealing with her mother's death is to try to find out what happened to these paintings.
During the time that she tries to find some kind of hint as to what happened to the paintings, Mary Swan finds out that her mother had some dark secrets. Not only does this eventually help her understand her own mother and the relationship that she had with her father, but it helps her find her own passion in painting. Plus, while she's on the hunt for more clues about these paintings, Mary Swan finds out how precious her friends are with their support.
So the mystery may have only been a minor part of the book, it was still really good. The other sub plots to do with Mary Swan finding a relationship with God, the civil rights movement in Atlanta (the book takes place in 1962 and 1963), and of course, boys. Mary Swan had a huge crush on a boy named Carl but because having a relationship with him would not be considered socially acceptable, they couldn't take their relationship any farther than friendship. But Mary Swan did go out with a boy that was socially acceptable - coming from a fine Atlanta family - but she only liked him as a friend and didn't want to take it any farther.
It was fun reading this story. I really liked Mary Swan and she is pretty naive about religion and race... and this is what made her so lovable. She's young, but what was so endearing about her is that she was pretty color blind and didn't understand why it was necessary to have segregation. She also didn't understand why so many people didn't think her best friend was good enough because she was Jewish. I'm sure that for 1962 Atlanta that Mary Swan was very unique her way of thinking... but I see it as something that he parents were doing right - they were not influencing their kids to think like they did... just because it was the way that they grew up.
There was just one little tid bit that I wish the writer would have done - and it's more of a problem with me because I get myself so involved with the characters.... I didn't feel any closure with what happened between Mary Swan and Carl or Robbie. What happened to Rachel? The story just sort of stopped, then the next thing I knew I turned the page and saw the epilogue. Maybe all of this is explained in the sequel, but I don't know and I may never find out. Oh well...