Thursday, June 9, 2011
The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova
It didn't really go wrong -I would still consider it a good read- it's just that I was expecting more of an art history based mystery instead of a romance between the psychiatrist and his patient's ex mistress (no conflict of interest there, I'm sure) The end didn't do the story any favors either. It was a tidy, predictable wrap-up with the patient suddenly recovering enough to be released and, hopefully, leaving the new happy couple -his Dr. and ex mistress- alone, and with the actual mystery of the painting and muse being hastily concluded as an afterthought.
But it wasn't all *ehn* I did enjoy Kostova's writing. She has a great sense of place and human emotion, and an impressive knowledge of of her subject, in this case art and history. There are simultaneous story lines, from the 1870s and the present day, that work remarkably well too. I was just as interested in Beatrice and Olivier's relationship as I grudgingly was to Dr. Marlow's and Mary's, and even Kate's and Robert's. The characters and the settings were alive and real. If only I had known this was not that much of an historical mystery I could have wrapped my head around the romance more and perhaps appreciated it better. But then again, given my ambivalence toward romance, I might not have read it.